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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 06:23 GMT
Motorway service stations rated
A motorway service station signpost
Holiday Which? said motorway services varied in quality
Some motorway service stations are "dingy and unattractive", but some are bright and modern, according to a survey by Holiday Which? magazine.

The worst was named as Cullompton on the M5, which was "little more than a McDonald's next to a petrol station".

Tebay, on the M6 in Cumbria, was said to be the best service station. It was said to boast good views, a good restaurant and a local produce shop.

The survey involved research at 57 of Britain's 83 motorway service stations.

Aside from Cullompton's unflushed toilets, which had missing seats and broken locks, Holiday Which? researchers were also unimpressed with Bothwell on the M74 east of Glasgow, which was "dreary and cluttered".

There's no reason why all service stations shouldn't be able to match the standards set by the best
Lorna Cowan
Holiday Which?

Meanwhile, Trowell on the M1 near Nottingham, was described as "dull, uninspiring, noisy and gloomy and Magor on the M4 near Newport, South Wales, provided researchers with "a truly miserable experience".

In stark contrast, Tebay's local produce shop was described as being "as close as the motorway network comes to Harrods' Food Hall".

Also on a positive note, Gordano on the M5 near Bristol, had "downright stylish" toilets, while Stafford Northbound on the M6 at Stafford was "spotless throughout".

Hopwood Park on the M42 south of Birmingham, was also praised for having helpful staff, a good variety of food and a smart cafe.

'Chilli con cardboard'

And, according to the magazine, the quality of food offered at the service stations varied widely.

At Gordano, the chicken tikka masala was "as good as a local curry house".

However, Magor's dinner tasted like "chilli con cardboard".

"We found a wide variation in the quality of motorway service stations," said Lorna Cowan, Holiday Which? editor.

"There's no reason why all service stations shouldn't be able to match the standards set by the best, so that people can know what to expect when they see a great big sign directing them off the motorway."

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