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Southwaite services


M6 between J41 and J42

Signposted from the road.



map and directions


Two sites located between junctions, connected by a pedestrian footbridge.

Rating: See the reviews

Lying close to the Scottish border is a pair of old services, now mostly providing snacks.


Catering: on both sides: Burger King, Costa Coffee, Greggs, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme
plus northbound only: West Cornwall Food Co
Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith Main Amenities: on both sides: Lucky Coin, Showers
plus northbound only: &Play, Changing Places
Hotel: Travelodgebook Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS & CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2 Forecourt: on both sides: BP, Shop, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue
plus northbound only: Greggs
and southbound only: Rollover

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £24. HGVs can pay £26 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone. The location code is 2461 (northbound) and 2462 (southbound).

The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Moto Hospitality Ltd
Southwaite Motorway Services Area

Trivia and History

Southwaite 1985.jpg
The northbound services in 1986.

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Northbound building opened by Taverna 1972
Sold to Granada 1973
Southbound building opened 1977
Re-branded Moto 2001

Southwaite has always been the most northern motorway service area on the M6 (but not in England, Washington takes that title). In 2008 the motorway was extended northwards and gained a new service area, Todhills, but that is only a rest area, meaning that technically Southwaite can still claim its title.

In 1995 the services were sold by the Highways Agency to Granada for an undisclosed sum, except to say it was one of England's most expensive.

The southbound M&S Simply Food store opened here on 16 March 2006 and was opened by the then-captain of Carlisle United FC Kevin Gray.

During early 2017, the northbound EDC restaurant was removed to make way for a West Cornwall Food Co unit and M&S Simply Food store. The West Cornwall Food Co unit opened on 17 March 2017 followed by the M&S Simply Food store on 23 March 2017, joining its southbound counterpart. The southbound EDC then closed in summer 2019 and was partially replaced by a Greggs store.

The southbound West Cornwall Pasty Company kiosk was removed in early 2022 with the equipment being transferred to Exeter's new kiosk.

During April 2022, the northbound side will receive a major refurbishment with toilets and showers being refurbished and the WHSmith gaining f'real Milkshakes and Tango Ice Blast machines. The &Play gaming area will also be removed. Moto are also seeking to build a Changing Places facility on the northbound side.

Early History

See also: M6 Service Area Planning

Initially, no bids were received for Southwaite. Like the services south of here, the low traffic levels forecast meant developers didn't think there was any money to be made here. 40 years later and despite the competition from Tebay, Moto have spoken of how popular Southwaite is. Even so, as of 2017 most of the catering has been removed.

Owing to the concerns about viability, when Taverna opened the services in 1972 the building was only on the northbound side. Southbound traffic could access it using the footbridge, which was given a roof especially for this purpose.

In 1974, the MSAB (the government regulators at the time), let on that Southwaite was their favourite of all the buildings they would inspect.

The second building was added in 1977 after Granada took it on. Granada also refurbished the northbound restaurant, with both offering self-service catering only, which turned out to be a popular set-up.

In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor" Despite it being "well organised, clean and tidy", it was let down by a number of catering issues, such as selling doughnuts which are "like a cannon ball". Despite this, the government continued to speak highly about it: Peter Prior reportedly praised its good food and efficient, friendly service.

Former Plans

Granada wanted to build a caravan park here, with laundry facilities.

Since 1976, the site was home to an English Tourist Board information centre, which held an large range of information for Scotland and England. This closed to make way for the Greggs outlet, with visitors directed to M6 J45 instead.

In 2008 there were plans to build a second hotel here, on the northbound side, but it's not clear what brand it would have been as Moto had been looking at brands other than Travelodge.


Tebay (37 miles)
Scotch Corner (A66, 61 miles)
Services on the M6Carlisle Truckstop (A689, 11 miles)
Todhills (13 miles)
Gretna (A74(M), 19 miles)
Burton-in-Kendal (M6 northbound, 48 miles)
Lancaster (64 miles)
Scotch Corner (A66, 61 miles)
Moto servicesTodhills (13 miles)

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