“ South Mimms Services, owned by Welcome Break, is a motorway service station on the M25 motorway near London. „
This may well be a rather strange thing to review if I'm honest, but after my experience before Christmas, I decided to share with you all about the lovely haven that is South Mimms service station on the M25. Harry and I were going to visit my parents, and the snow was light so I thought it'd be safe. The closer I got to London, the worse it got and the roads were absolutely treacherous. I was hit in the back of my car by another on the M4 so that was a bad start, but then we were stuck on the M25 for 3.5 hours because of a car fire... it was freezing, it was getting dark and I was so tired, I couldn't drive much more. My mum told me to pull in at the services (South Mimms) and my dad and brother would come and get me and Harry. Usually, it takes around 1.5 hours to get to South Mimms.. on this day it took us 8 hellish hours, and when we arrived at South Mimms, I'd never been more happy to see a service station in my life.
South Mimms services is run by Welcome Break, and is located at Junction 23 of the M25. It is a large service station that is equipped for cars, coaches and lorries as well, and the parking is more than adequate for the amount of traffic that the station receives. I was expecting the services to be packed but it was surprisingly empty. Unfortunately, the car park hadn't been cleared or salted so we pulled up in the first space we could find, and trudged out way out of the cold and into the warm. We arrived at around 6pm, planning to finally get something to eat and drink, and of course make use of the facilities too!
When you enter the service station, you will notice that it is very bright and airy, with plenty of seating to the right of the building, and a Starbucks coffee outlet with more seating to the left. Straight ahead are the hot food outlets, Burger King, KFC and Eat In. Next to these are WH Smith and Waitrose, so you can see everything ahead of you and it is very open plan. There are good toilet facilities as well towards the far left, you have to go past all the shops and they are located towards the coach entrance, I've always found I never have to queue for the loo here, and they are always at a good standard of cleanliness. There is a baby change room as well but there is often a queue for this since it is the only one.
Within the service station, there are plenty of options for eating and drinking. Within you'll find a Burger King, KFC, Eat-In and a Waitrose store that sells plenty of sandwiches if hot food isn't your thing. There is also a WH Smith but that really only provides magazines and snacks rather than nutritious. By the time we arrived, both KFC and Burger King were closed which was quite annoying, but luckily the "Eat-In" franchise is 24 hour so we were able to get food there. They offer everything from sandwiches and fruit, to roast lamb, pizza and cod, chips and peas. There was plenty of choice, but because it was the only hot eatery option open, the queue was enormous and it took me nearly 50 minutes from joining the queue to paying. The food itself was lovely though, Harry and I shared a large drink, half pizza and chips which was just £5, very good value for hot food which we were desperate for.
One little niggle I have with the services is the lack of comfortable seating! Harry and I had been on the road in freezing conditions for 8 hours, yet there wasn't a nice cushioned seat or sofa anywhere for us to relax on, it is all hard wooden seating and we really struggled to get comfortable. Also, quite a bit of the seating is by the doors and it was really quite chilly because there didn't seem that much heating, but we soon moved towards the back where it was warmer away from the doors. There are plenty of tables though so if you want to eat here, you shouldn't struggle to get a table at all. I visit here regularly on my way to my parents and there is always plenty of available seating.
There are also a few pay rides for children to keep them amused in case they get bored, 2 BT payphones, a mobile phone kiosk that sells chargers, sat navs etc so the amenities are well provided for. There is also a BP petrol station as you leave, the petrol of course costs more than the average forecourt but if you need an emergency top-up, you'd pay anything! It is worth mentioning there is also a Holiday Inn on the site, but this is very popular - my mum tried to book Harry and I a room that night in case my family couldn't get to me but it was fully booked, so it's worth booking in advance if you think you'll need to stay here.
Overall, I am always impressed with South Mimms service station whenever I visit, and on the occasion in December when I had to spend 2.5 hours inside, it was fine - it was warm, there was hot food and there was somewhere for us to rest while we waited for my dad and brother to get us. After being on the road in the snow, ice and cold for 8 hours, it seemed like heaven! It did take us another 3 hours to get home once we left there, so a journey that usually takes us 3 hours managed to take me 15 hours of pure hell... never again in the snow! If you're on a long journey, I'd definitely recommend South Mimms - it's well sign posted around Junction 23 and beforehand, and it is the only services for around 90 miles of that area so don't miss it whatever you do!
M25, Junction 23
Tel: +44 (0)1707 646 333
More information about this service station can be found at Welcome Break's website, www.welcomebreak.co.uk.
Note: car parking is free for 2 hours.
Thank you for reading!