Motorway Services Online

Retrieved from ""

Rownhams services


M27 between J3 and J4

Signposted from the road.


SO16 8AP

map and directions


Two sites located between junctions, connected by pedestrian subway.

Rating: See the reviews

The only substantial service area on the entire south coast route, recent refurbishments have breathed life back in to what was becoming a forgotten place.


Catering: on both sides: Costa Coffee, McDonald's, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Costa Drive Thru
plus north-eastbound only: New York Bakery Co.
and south-westbound only: Chozen Noodle, Fresh Food Café, McDonald's Drive Thru, LEON, Skwishee Iced Drinks
Shops: on both sides: WHSmith
and south-westbound only: Phone Tech, SPAR
Amenities: on both sides: Jackpot £500, Showers
and south-westbound only: Days Inn
Outdoor Space: Grass area to the side of both buildings; Picnic Area Charging Points: north-eastbound only: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway HPC 350kW CCS, 100kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2
and south-westbound only: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2
Forecourt: BP, Shop, Wild Bean Café

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £13 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £33, or £36 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using NexusPay or in the shop. The location code is 2206 (westbound) and 2066 (eastbound).

The fees are strictly enforced by GroupNexus.

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Motor Way Service Station
Rownhams Lane
SO16 8AP

Trivia and Design

The service area building with white paint.
The main westbound entrance as it looked for many years.

See also: History:Rownhams

Two distinctly different buildings make up the service area. The westbound has always been the bigger of the two, and since 2019 it boasts Roadchef's flagship brands Leon and SPAR. The building has been covered in new cladding and inside it has been totally stripped out to take up the usual 'food court' layout, with the doors to the old coach park closed. The single-story building is still somewhat discrete, especially as it's at the bottom of the hill and below the height of the motorway, but most of the trees that hid it from view have been removed.

The newer eastbound building feels much calmer, with large windows overlooking the picnic area, and a brick frontage with bushes around the front. The two sides are linked by a walkway through the trees, which receives little use despite being important at times.

Despite the location, this side is regularly referred to by Roadchef as being on the "M27 northbound".

In Spring 2017, Transport Focus calculated a 75% satisfaction score for the westbound services and 76% for the eastbound services. This means the pair were the third and fourth worst-performing respectively. By 2018 things were much better, with 87% and 93%, and in 2019 westbound rose to 96%. The previous poor performance may explain why it has a turn-in rate of around only 4%.


The first motorway Costa drive thru unit opened at the eastbound service area in July 2016, which required the access road to be re-aligned. This tiny unit offers no internal seating at all; a first of its kind on the motorway. A second one opened in May 2017, along with a significant extension moving the toilets to the old entrance to make room for the new SPAR store.

After the westbound building gained new brands in 2019 and a McDonald's drive thru lane in 2022, the smaller eastbound side seemed lacking. Roadchef themselves noted that the facility "appears largely as it did over 30 years ago".

Roadchef secured planning permission to build their first stand-alone, two-storey McDonald's drive thru and 24 charging points in the eastbound car park in 2020. They have now indicated that they don't want to build this, as their priority is to keep customers in the amenity building. Instead, they now intend to build a drive thru lane around the existing building, with the building being extended in all directions to gain a new entrance, larger dining area, a new game arcade and a LEON restaurant. The new drive thru will cut off access to the lawn and picnic area, so a new, smaller picnic area will be placed between the car park and the road.

Meanwhile, the eastbound WHSmith store was refurbished in January 2023, reopening on 3 February with new 'grab and go' options.

A new high-powered EV charging hub was added to the north-eastbound car park in April 2024 featuring six chargers.


West Wellow (A36, 4 miles)
Stoney Cross (A31 westbound, 9 miles)
Picket Post (A31, 15 miles)
Services on the M27Winchester (M3, 15 miles)
Farlington (A27, 22 miles)
Sutton Scotney (A34, 18 miles)
noneRoadchef servicesSutton Scotney (A34, 18 miles)

Visitor Feedback

Visitors can leave public feedback on their experience by logging into the CommentBox app. You can do so quickly below:

Views expressed in these comments are those of the individual contributor. User accounts are managed by Registration helps prevent automated spam.
We ask the companies named to check here, but we can't force them to do so.