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Watford Gap services


M1 between J16 and J17

Signposted from the road.



map and directions


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

Rating: See the reviews

Possibly the most famous service station name in the country - so it's a bit of a shame that it looks no different from most other services. Still, given that it has been there for almost 60 years, it's quite an achievement that it's able to keep up with the others.


Catering: on both sides: Chozen Noodle, Costa, McDonald's, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Costa Drive Thru
plus northbound only: Fresh Food Café, f'real Milkshakes
and southbound only: LEON
Shops: Phone Tech, WHSmith Main Amenities: on both sides: Jackpot £500, Showers
plus northbound only: Randox Health Covid-19 Test Dropbox
and southbound only: Regus Express
Hotel: southbound only: Days Innbook Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS & CHAdeMO Forecourt: BP, Shop, Wild Bean Café, Air1 AdBlue, Free Cash Machine

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £20 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £28, or £30 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone or in the shop. The location code is 5252 (northbound) and 5253 (southbound).

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:
Watford Gap Motorway Services Area

  • 📞 Telephone number: 01327 879001
  • 🗺 Grid reference: SP599680

🌍 Operators (Official Websites):

Trivia and Design

Old restaurant.
Cramped but popular - the original restaurant.

See also: History:Watford Gap

The traditional 'gateway to the north', Watford Gap probably manages to be both Britain's most famous and most infamous motorway service area. It has also managed to convince the world's press that it's the oldest.

Going right back to the days of The Blue Boar, Watford Gap has seen highs and lows that have all shaped Britain's motoring culture. The name 'Blue Boar' is still used on some internal documents as of 2021.

Watford Gap is still managed under its original operating lease, which was never sold. Roadchef had suggested they will begin a very significant reconstruction programme if they were successful in renewing the lease.

Recent History

Watford Gap was where Roadchef trialled WHSmith. It was a success and has since been rolled out at all their services.

In 2010, a large redevelopment of the northbound services saw a new entrance created, and the restaurant reduced from a large Restbite servery to a smaller Hot Food Co. counter. In 2012, this was changed to Roadchef's trial restaurant Fresh Food Café.

Pizza Rossa was trialled on the northbound side for a short while within the Fresh Food Café unit, but it wasn't continued. They were also going to open another unit in Norton Canes but this never happened.

Roadchef's first Carvery Express opened here on the northbound side in September 2015. It was removed in 2017 following an unsuccessful trial.

A new LEON restaurant opened on the southbound side on 24 November 2021 in place of the Chozen Noodle unit. The Chozen Noodle unit will return in early December 2021 in the form of a hybrid unit alongside The Breakfast Kitchen.

Western Power Distribution is planning to increase the electricity capacity at Watford Gap, to allow it to potentially become a charging hub in the future.


Northampton (10 miles)Services on the M1Rugby Truckstop (6 miles)
Leicester Forest East (24 miles)
Rugby (M6, 10 miles)
Mangrove (10 miles)
Northampton (10 miles)Roadchef servicesTibshelf (67 miles)
Norton Canes (M6 Toll, 54 miles)

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