Motorway Services Online

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Oxford services


M40 at J8A
(also accessible to traffic on the A40 and the A418)

Signposted from the road.


OX33 1LJ

map and directions


Single site located at a junction.

Rating: See the reviews

This is the Welcome Break service area on the M40 at J8A. For Welcome Break's service area at the A34/A40 junction in Oxford, see Peartree. For Moto's site at J10 see Cherwell Valley.

Oxford stands out for its landscaping and fountains around the front. It had a large garden too, but this has mostly been filled by new facilities.


Catering: Burger King, Chopstix Noodle Bar, PizzaExpress, Starbucks, The Good Breakfast, f'real Milkshakes, Jolly Rancher Slush, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks on the Go, Starbucks Drive Thru Shops: Little Waitrose & Partners, Top Gift, WHSmith Amenities: Ramada, Showers, Welcome Break Gaming Outdoor Space: Grass area by outdoor terrace and pond; Picnic Area Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2; Tesla Supercharger 150kW CCS Forecourt: BP, Shop, The Good Bakery, f'real Milkshakes, Rollover, Starbucks on the Go

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 for a further 24 hours and HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £34 (or £36 to include a £12 meal voucher).

Prices can be paid in the shop, with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.

This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Welcome Break
OX33 1LJ

Trivia and History

Oxford 1998 site entrance.jpg
The service area under construction.

Camera icon

Services opened 1998

The change in road layout made necessary by the service area means there is an unusual list of businesses who rely on the service area for their access. Crowthorne Kennels and Holloway Farm (trading as a B&B) are positioned on an isolated, original section of the A40 which can now only be accessed by a narrow lane from within the service area. There is also Eden Business Park, which has a veterinary surgery.

These businesses are served by a bus stop, which means regular local bus services have to head into the service area to turn around.

Four units were temporarily closed due to an infestation which was discovered during an environmental health inspection on 20 May 2024. Welcome Break are working with the local authority to resolve this issue.

Planning Process

See also: M40 Planning Applications

Between 1974 and 1991, the M40 ended immediately south of here. The road was deemed too short to have any service areas, but lay-bys with toilets were provided on the A40 at Forest Hill.

When plans were afoot to extend the M40, building a service area at M40 J8A was quickly ruled out because it was too close to Oxfordshire County Council's favourite site at Cherwell Valley. The council were adamant that there should only be one motorway service area in their county, so further studies only really considered potential sites in Buckinghamshire.

At this point the government ended its involvement in service station planning, but in 1993 Welcome Break proposed building at the current site, across an abandoned railway line. Meanwhile Wyatt Bros proposed a smaller service area on the opposite side of the junction.

At the time, this junction only had slip roads facing the north. The slip roads facing the south were steep and for emergency use only; general traffic wishing to use them had to use the tight junction near Wheatley village instead. Both proposals suggested replacing the emergency slip roads with real ones - the Welcome Break proposal had the new entrance lead directly into the services.

Both these plans - and several other plans for the M40 - were rejected, but the Welcome Break proposal was approved after an inquiry. Their original building design took a courtyard design, like Sarn Park crossed with Lymm. One of the final changes saw the removal of a second storey from the new planned building. Unlike its sister site at Hopwood Park, the second storey would have housed only offices.

The new motorway exit slip was changed to cross the roundabout because of concerns about it conflicting with the turning for the kennels. The new southbound entry is visibly an afterthought that doesn't quite fit in with the roundabout.

Welcome Break were acquired by Granada in 1995, and the brand was sold on in 1997. The planned Oxford site was included in both sales, but Granada had the option of buying it back, if they wished to.


The early plans listed the service area as 'Wheatley', but this was changed to Oxford upon opening. That change may be related to Welcome Break losing their site at Peartree, which was closer to Oxford than this "Oxford" site. Now Welcome Break own Peartree again, it all looks a bit odd.

Prior to it opening the site was called Lower Farm, and it was briefly known as Wheatley Triangle.

Traffic Issues

Service areas at junctions are notorious for being difficult to access. At Oxford, this shouldn't have been a problem, as the junction is relatively quiet and half of it was built purely for the service area. Even so, during holiday periods long queues can build to enter the car park, which can block the exit from the A418 and in turn cause a much longer queue towards Tiddington.


Petrol station with a thin canopy and a sign saying BP.
The petrol station in 1998.

The service area was opened on 19 July 1998 by Anthea Turner. It was expected to be the last of three service areas planned for the M40, a road which originally held the record for the longest major road without any such facilities at all.

Within a week of the service area opening, the fire brigade were called twice: firstly there was a minor petrol leak and a few days later a fire was started deliberately in the toilets. The second incident caused concern because it happened just two days after a major fire at South Mimms services.

The distinctive water features around the site entrance were part of a pioneering drainage scheme, in which water that lands in the car park and on the roof is fed into pond and slowly released from there. Many service areas of this era have balancing ponds, but they rarely interact with them. The service area also tried to reuse its wastewater, however this was deemed to be undesirable.

Brand Changes

Oxford has been used to trial many major brands over time, including Waitrose, a Krispy Kreme store in December 2012 and Dunkin' Donuts in July 2014.

The hotel underwent a major refurbishment and reopened on 1 October 2014 as Ramada, replacing Days Inn.

In July 2015, Oxford was one of the first three motorway service areas to gain a Tesla Supercharger.

A PizzaExpress restaurant opened here in October 2017, the first of several planned openings. It was built in a new building next to the hotel, which is in a similar style to the building which was built to house Ed's Easy Diner at South Mimms, which is also now a PizzaExpress.

Upper Crust and The Pasty Shop opened within a refurbished WHSmith in the filling station in April 2018. The shop was later de-branded, with the Upper Crust branding also being dropped in 2021. The Pasty Shop was removed at the end of May 2023, being replaced by Welcome Break's The Good Bakery offering.

A Ben & Jerry's kiosk was trialled during the summer season of 2021, opening on 20 July, but was later removed.

The Good Breakfast unit was refurbished in March 2023, reopening on 30 March with an additional Chopstix Noodle Bar offering.

Works are currently underway at the back of the car park to add a brand new Applegreen Electric charging hub, with the chargers set to go live in late 2024.


Beaconsfield (24 miles)Services on the M40Cherwell Valley (20 miles)
noneServices on the A40Peartree (10 miles)
Milton Heights (A34 south, 19 miles)
noneServices on the A418Thame (6 miles)
South Mimms (M25 east, 52 miles)
London Gateway (M1 south, 49 miles)
Welcome Break servicesWarwick (44 miles)

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