THE 14 BEST PLACES TO PULL OVER HAVE BEEN REVEALED

The 14 best places to pull over have been revealed: UK motorway services rated by their food prices, quality of facilities and cleanliness of toilets

• Survey of almost 10,000 motorists names the joint best UK services operators
• Extra and Westmorland received a satisfaction rating of 97% from visitors
• The two operators have 15 motorway services - around 13% of the UK network

Smaller motorway service operators have the best user satisfaction ratings, a new survey of drivers has found.

Extra and Westmorland achieved the joint highest score of 97 per cent in a poll of almost 10,000 motorists revealed by watchdog Transport Focus ahead of 'Super Saturday', when some 10 million motorists are predicted to be hitting the road.

The two providers manage 14 of England's 112 motorway service areas, including Beaconsfield on the M40 in Buckinghamshire, Gloucester on the M5 and Tebay on the M6 in Cumbria.

The annual poll by Transport Focus usually rates all 112 services individually, naming the best standalone location in the country to take a break from an arduous motorway schlep.

However, surveys taking place from February were cut short in March due to the country going into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK.

This means the results have been rounded up into best operators, rather than standout services. 

Just two thirds of intended fieldwork had been completed by the time motorway services became off limits, with a total of 9808 interviews short of the intended target of 15,000 responses.

The best-ranked operators represent just 13 per cent of the entire services network, with just ten locations across the nation.

While Extra services are more traditional motorway stop-offs, Westmoreland operates a small network of family-run locations with farm shops and a more personable appeal.

Below are the 14 locations the two operators are responsible for. 

The 14 motorway services ran by the UK's top-rated operators

Extra locations

Baldock - A1M, Junction 10

Beaconsfield - M40, Junction 2

Blackburn with Darwen - M65, Junction 4

Cambridge - A14 (M11), Junction 28

Cobham - M25, Junction 9/10

Cullompton - M5, Junction 28

Leeds Skelton Lake - M1, Junction 45

Peterborough - A1M, Junction 17 

Winchester - M3, Junction 8/9

Westmorland locations

Gloucester - M5, Junction 11a/12

Cairn Lodge Services, Happendon - M74, Junction 11/12

J38 Truckstop - M6, Junction 38

Rheged Centre - A66, A592 roundabout

Tebay - M6, Junction 38/39

Results were published as a third of drivers prepare take to the road this weekend to celebrate the easing of the lockdown, according to the RAC.

More than 10 million of us will be escaping our homes for an overnight stay on July 4, the motoring group's poll found.

The date has been dubbed 'Super Saturday' due to pubs and restaurants reopening, with motorway services expected to see a spike in visits.

In total, 93 per cent of visitors to service stations said they were satisfied with their experience - an improvement of three percentage points on 2019. 

Almost two thirds of these respondents (64 per cent) said they were 'very satisfied'. 

Westmorland had the highest proportion of very satisfied visitors at 87 per cent. 

Euro Garages - which took third spot overall) had the biggest year-on-year increase in satisfaction from 86 per cent to 96 per cent. 

Extra also saw a significant increase in satisfaction of eight percentage points to 97 per cent. 

All three of the larger operators saw an increase in satisfaction this year; Roadchef (up from 92 per cent to 95 per cent), Moto (up from 90 per cent to 93 per cent and Welcome Break (up from 90 per cent to 92 per cent). 

Cleanliness of toilets was rated as satisfactory by 89 per cent of visitors, while friendliness and helpfulness of staff scored 94 per cent.

Visitors were least satisfied with the value for money of the food and drink they bought, at just 69 per cents.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: 'As the country emerges out of lockdown and people take to the roads for staycations this summer, motorway services will provide a vital opportunity for drivers to take a break on their journey.

'Motorway services provide customers with a great experience with friendly and helpful staff, but there is still room for improvement when it comes to the value for money of the food and drink on offer.'