Motorway Services Online

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Popham services

Location:

A303 westbound between Basingstoke and Andover

Signposted from the road.

Postcode:

SO21 3SP

(Google Maps link)

Access/Layout:

Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.


This page is about the current services on the A303. For the former services on the A33, see Popham (A33). For the eastbound service area, see Micheldever.

For a brief while this was the UK's most famous Little Chef - now it looks a lot like any other A-road service area.

Facilities

Catering: Starbucks Charging Points: Pod Point 7kW Type 2 Forecourt: BP, Marks and Spencer Food, Wild Bean Café, AdBlue Containers, Free Cash Machine

Parking Prices

Short stay customer parking is available for all vehicles.

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Popham Services
Micheldever
Winchester
Hampshire
SO21 3SP

🌍 Operators (Official Websites):


Trivia and History

Popham car park.jpg
The car park was overflowing months after the new restaurant opened.

Camera icon

Services opened 1991
Restaurant opened 1995
Restaurant closed 2017

The road through here already had a service area at Micheldever. When it was upgraded to dual carriageway in the 1970s, this became accessible to eastbound traffic only, so an additional facility was required

BP launched the planning application, proposing a forecourt and restaurant. A hotel was considered but later withdrawn. The forecourt opened in 1991, and was joined in 1995 by the Popham branch of Little ChefHistory.

The restaurant gained a Burger King franchise in 1998, which was added in a new extension. This later became a Coffee Tempo! store.

The forecourt gained a Wild Bean Café in 2004, and a M&S Simply Food store in 2007.

Popham in the Media

The Little Chef featured in a three-hour documentary on Channel 4 in January 2009 which saw Heston Blumenthal try to completely refresh the brand. Popham was chosen as a typical Little Chef restaurant and after several experiments, it was closed for a two-week refit marketed as "Little Chef has changed".

The new restaurant used brighter colours inside and some novelty items such as the recordings in the toilets.

For months after the documentary was aired, the site (which used to be near-empty), was packed with customers, with reports of customers queueing to enter the car park and facing long waits inside.

Despite this, it took boss Ian Pegler several months before he agreed to roll it out. It was then trialled at two more services, before a lightweight version was rolled out.

Comedown

Little Chef Popham sign.
The new Little Chef branding, slightly damaged, in 2014.

Despite the refurbished Popham Little Chef initially receiving very positive customer feedback, as Little Chef continued to pass between owners some of them were not willing to provide the money required to keep Popham at the top of its game.

As a result, even though Popham continued to look different from most of the ageing Little Chefs, observations of poor maintenance and unhappy staff began to increase.

Euro Garages bought all existing Little Chefs in February 2017, and Popham later closed in July 2017 as part of the nationwide shut-down. As a smaller branch, new owners EG Group decided to convert it into a Starbucks, reopening on 15 September 2017.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Micheldever (eastbound, ¼ mile)
Fleet (M3 east, 18 miles)
Services on the A303Barton Stacey (westbound, 7 miles)
The Buck (eastbound, 8 miles)