Tell us all about your experiences of this service area.
Summer 2013 - I'd been going to visit my dad who was seriously ill in hospital in Harlow. Doing the journey from Norwich to Harlow after a day's work was a lot and one week I did it three times so I could see him.
Anyhow, on one particular day, I must've overstayed or been in and out and got 'camera-ed' (having eaten and drank coffee and filled up several times) I had spent a lot of money there.
I did manage to get away to the Lake District, but I had a phone-call and the news was bad. So, having come back early from my family holiday (bank holiday car hire from Manchester airport) as the news about my dad was bad, I opened the mail at 3am when I got home and found the letter they sent me a Â£100 parking charge threatening court action and bailiffs if I didn't pay. I didn't know the legality of it.
My dad died the next day. The following day I had to ring the stupid company that organises the parking at Birchangar getting passed from pillar to post and feeling like an emotional wreck. These people have no feeling. The only people that park there are customers. And this is the way they treat their customers.
I had to eventually got through on the phone to Welcome Break Head Office where I burst in to tears on the phone (to an answering machine). I was rung back shortly afterwards and the parking fine was cancelled. But the damage had been done. I spent the last few hours with my dying father, worried about being taken to court.
Needless to say, I haven't been back since. On the many occasions I have taken my daughter to Stansted, and when I've used the airport myself, I have used the BP station exactly two miles from Stansted. the coffee is cheaper and there are no cameras.
I LOATHE BIRCHANGAR GREEN SERVICES. Bad memories and they made it worse.
Jonathan, Mon 29 Aug 2016
If you have a caravan, particularly a long unit AVOID these services. They have installed bollards on the entry slip to the caravan parking area. This caused damage to our caravan as it is not wide enough for the turn with a long unit. We called out the deputy service manager who took photos and a statement, but a week on and heard nothing from them. A Hobby caravan was also damaged minutes before us. Posting on as many sites as I can to warn people of the unsuitability of these services.
Sue Wilson, Sat 6 Aug 2016
Had a positive experience here today. Bought a new van and was driving it back home in Cambridge when I realised that I'd forgotten my wallet and petrol very, very low. Stopped at this services and called my partner to ask if she could bring me my wallet - unfortunately she couldn't make it for over three hours. I had no money on me at all so just settled in for a long wait. I noticed the signs in the car park advising that if you stay over two hours you have to pay. Knowing I'd be over this time I went in and had a chat with a couple of the managers (one of which name began with P but have now completely forgotten - sorry!) and they were fantastic. Sorted out the parking for me and bought me a drink, offered me a sandwich and came out to have a chat every now and then. Really very kind people. A service you very rarely get anywhere these days. The services themselves were absolutely fine - clean and comfortable. Eventually got my wallet and left but not before having the chips with curry sauce from Ramsdens (which are amazing). Thank you to the staff at Birchanger Green Services :)
Matt Michaels, Mon 21 Mar 2016
wish to raise a complaint ref your birch hanger branch bishop storford on sat 31/10/15
I went to you branch there was eight people in front off me and only two meb serving and was kept waiting for 25 mins in that time at least 4 customers behind me walk off ,all the time I was there not one meb off staff smiled or said thank you or said sorry about the wait ,there looked like they were on a go slow and defo not fast food ,there looked like they didnâ€™t want to be there. The man in front off me complained to the manger about the wait, which was a waste off time .the manger was the only one in the kitchen and yet there was at least two other meb walking around the back doing nothing .the meb off staff who by this time the 3rd meb serving had no name badge. I ordered a double cheese burger meal and got a single cold chesses burger a half potion off cold chips and a flat coke. The tables were dirty sticky and rubbish from other customers left on them .this service is unaccepble the staff are rude and the food is crap.i hav been to birchanger many times but not in burger king because the service always lookes slow, but i thought id give you a chance wished i never .i think you need to visit this site it the first one as you entre birchanger and all the other units seam to give beter service ie clean quick and good customer service .this branch is a disgrace to burger king this is what i sent to burger king it took 5 email before they even got back to me so just like welcome break they dont care got a voucher for a chicken burger which i dont eat should have least got like for like or a refund never use burger king again and they can put there voucher wher the sun dont shine
alan, Wed 17 Feb 2016
Disgusted disgusted disgusted.Travelled more than 12 hours through Europe on ferry to Dover to have a little rest at around 3 am. Couldn't see a thing to tell me about the parking limit.Now court judgement to pay Â£197!!!!Was initially Â£60 but followed advice of few who had same problem and never got fined. Today finally managed to get through to court that issued this and it is legitimate letter( suspected a scam)Feel like I have done domething terrible but my fault was to fail to notice signs at night and stayed there for 3 hrs.What bandits parking eye !
Monica, Mon 25 Jan 2016
Horrible services. I do stop here when on the motorbike as the cameras struggle with bikes, plus you can filter around the cars and the general mayhem. To those issued with 'fines' These Â£60 charges are not fines, are very diufficult to enforce (would involve a trip to court for the sites Parking Eye lot, and I simply would not pay them.They make a lot of money out of non-savvy motorists panicking with the thoughts of a 'fine'. They are merely an invoice dressed to look like a fine.
Ian Jones, Mon 14 Sep 2015
Definitely not posted from Welcome Break/parking eye HQ, oh no
Bob Bell in hell, Thu 6 Aug 2015
birch-hanger, meaning a small wood (hanger) of birch trees
This is one of those service areas that are accessed from the main junction roundabout, and consequently have traffic from both directions piling into them. It's an inferno of traffic congestion and bad temper, even without the predatory parking charges!
Take my advice, and avoid these services and instead drive a mile or so west on the A120 to the Tesco store CM23 4DA, which has a cafe, toilets and nice big car park.
avoid , avoid , avoid at any cost do not go into this service area..warning signs about staying over 2 hours are not prominent enough, during a long drive stopped off for a break and food stayed over 2 hrs spending money in the services only to be shafted with an additional Ã‚Â£60. fine.. so much for government adds saying take a break when on long journeys.. well to the parasites who own these services. THIS DRIVER ONLY GETS STUNG ONCE AND DOESNOT EVER RETURN AND BAD NEWS GOES 100 TIMES FURTHER THAN GOOD..
ray harvey, Thu 20 Nov 2014
I believe that Parkingeye LTD. are issuing parking charges that are spurious.They say that I stayed for 3hours 17minutes. Several other visitors have reported similar times. Does not make sense at all. I would be interested to hear from like minded travellers.
SJ Axtell, Sat 4 Oct 2014
Our coach called in there on Friday 12th September.Apart from the obvious - overpriced drinks - the toilets were not good. Water on floors, and all over the washbasin surfaces. Some taps not working, when they did its water everywhere. And the noise from the drying fans!! Dyson should be ashamed of himself. Its almost a noise nuisance and staff (if there are any cleaning the place up!) would need ear defenders. Outside? Litter, broken fences, and a jungle growing out of the eaves gutters - does no one ever look up?
Iain Reynard, Sat 13 Sep 2014
Travelling with a caravan we pulled into these so called welcome break services. Only to find at 01.45 that every caravan bay was full of hgv waggons ,this has happens before.so being quiet we decided to pull Into the car area stayed for a while had a horrid coffee nothing else was open .when we went to go I noticed I had a flat tyre on the caravan so I changed it no problem. Yesterday's post gave me a parking charge for using the services for three hours .sorry if I could of used the caravan bays I would not of had to bump my caravan over the curbs thus damaging the tyre .I am sorry I would rather have a hole in the head than go back to these services go to france and see how it's done
G sangster, Sun 7 Sep 2014
Sunday morning i resolve go to papa johns eat pizza with my boyfriend. Great takeaway, probably the best in the area for pizzas (thin crust) and wedges. Amazing costumer services from the portuguese girl Raffaela. Congratulations for this girl she work very well and always smiling, very professional. Just disappoint with Welcome break company how come 13 o'clock of the afternoon busy time and this girl pregnant work alone, this in not nice please take care of this girl ( your staff ) she is amazing !! Well done Raffaela of papa johns
Jack and Joana Smith, Tue 26 Aug 2014
I am a lorry driver and often attend these services. On this particular occasion I had to queue on the slip road off the M11 for a considerable time. When I got into the service area I realised why. The lorry park was being used as an overspill car park. There was no member of staff supervising the parking therefore I was forced to take a slalom course to park my 44tonne lorry. On leaving the services instead of being able to take my usual exit lane to ensure I was able to get into the right lane on the roundabout so as not to inconvenience any other driver I was informed it was closed for hgvs. I must admit the red mist then descended and I did use some abusive language. I have some points to make to the management. 1. If the lorry park is full would you let me park in the car park? 2. You charge an extortionate fee for overnight parking. Will you supply overnight security? 3. What impact would an hgv boycott have on your profits.All I am asking is for fairness but I realise that will never happen because all you are interested in is profit and to hell with the people who give you that profit.
graham kew, Fri 1 Aug 2014
I had a delayed flight and decided to pop into Birchanger services for a snack before my drive home. I tripped and fell in the car park, grazing my knees, hurting my hand and bruised my cheek and had a cut over my eye. I was badly shocked. I managed to get up and go into the services. I asked a couple of girls (I think they were Starbucks workers) if there was a first aid person about, as I was worried about going into the ladies and then being a bit shaken or collapsing. One of them stayed with me and sat me down, while the other went to fetch Sandra. They could not have been more kind. They brought me a bottle of water, then Sandra cleaned me up and checked I did not need the ambulance, and that I was reasonably 'sensible'. They insisted on providing me with a hot cup of tea and a snack, and refused payment. Sandra stayed and chatted with me for a few minutes checking that I was recovering OK and that I would be OK to drive home.Reminding me to pull over if I felt ill.Well done staff at Birchanger I was travelling on my own and you helped me cope with the shock and generally took care of me. Thanks.
Mary Cousins, Fri 18 Jul 2014
My daughter and I stopped briefly for something to eat. I was queueing for food and my daughter took a seat at the edge the general seating area. Just as I received my food there was a terrifig bang in the direction of my daughter and I looked to see that everyone was looking shocked and staring at my daughter, who seemed rather flustered. As I walked over I could see a couple of members of staff moving in her direction. A large metal panel, from the ceiling above her head, had fallen missing her by inches. The panel was quickly cleared up and one member of staff asked my daughter if she was ok, before they all disappeared. Had the panel hit my daughter it would have caused her serious damage. Nobody came out to investigate or check whether the rest of the roof panelling was loose and nobody cordoned off the area. I would advise Welcome Break to take a little look at their Health and Safety policy as it seems slack at best! We were typically British and did not kick up a fuss, mostly because we were rather shocked, but my daughter was very lucky.I do hope that they have completed a thorough check over night.
Nicky, Sun 22 Jun 2014
Please Please be aware of parking at these services. Don't be fooled by the Welcome Break sign enticing you in!!! After travelling for 10 hours across Germany and arriving at Dover in the early hours, delayed by bad weather and then diversions on overnight road closures in Kent, we all felt very tired and decided 50 miles from home to pull into these services at 2.30am and have a short sleep. Thats what Services are for surely?? Government adverts constantly telling us to pull over and take a break! We slept for 3 hours and 15 minutes, as was pointed out to us by the letter we received from Parking Eye, dated Christmas Day!!! Along with a photo of our car as proof, that they had cheekily taken!! No signs to state this would happen!! Had we seen Any signs whatsoever, we would have been certain to set an alarm, of course we would. Yes apparently there are signs, but we saw none on entering or leaving so they are obviously not clear enough. I am sure that there are many people unaware that there is an overnight charge here and will fall victim to Parking Eye's Ã‚Â£60 fine which has now increased to Ã‚Â£100 as I have appealed. It is just very unfair and I feel that overnight charges should be withdrawn.
M Sansom, Wed 12 Feb 2014
Asked for the Soup and Toastie offer at Papa John's, least ways think that was what it was called as PJ seemed to special in pizza. Was told rather grumpily 'help yourself', so I asked where the toasties where, and a finger was pointed to the fridge on the wall behind me. Why are they not displayed together? Tomato soup was overheated and needed stirring, carrot and corriander running out and when this was pointed out it was treated with great disinterest. We waited ages for some soup bowls, the toastie was that great, not the best fiver I have ever spent. Waited another age for spoons to eat the soup, someone had gone goodness knows where to fetch some. Food was getting cold so told another assistand that if they didn't get two spoons immediately I wanted a refund. Spoons were chased up, and some brought a cutlery tray with 5 spoons, two forks and 3 knives. Was that all they had? wouldn't eat there again, might go to KFC if I had to stop there again. Most unsatisfactory.
Joyce Jeffs, Sun 1 Dec 2013
My wife and I popped into the services about 8.30pm 4/11/13. The first thing we noticed that it was grubby. Food ,rubbish etc everywhere. Tables not cleared . Having informed the staff of a flower shoplifter, we drank out coffee and left. The car park is very dark as is the access roads. Needs pulling down and a new one in its place. Even a deep clean would not be enough.
Geoff K, Wed 6 Nov 2013
I was visiting KFC on my way home from college, I went straight to KFC, where the barriers had been pulled shut even though signs say it doesn't close for another hour (11pm) all I could hear was loud dance music behind the counter, however I was sure they were open as there was a lot of food and burgers still on display in the hot plate. A member of the public kindly let me know they were closes after 10 minutes of waiting, he also stated that they had turned away 6 people before hand even though there was food!!! Another member of staff from papa John ( whom I saw spit into the sink whilst waiting) advised me that they had closed early as it was a quiet night!!! Will not be returning hygiene of spitting in the sink is disgusting. I think they need an undercover boss!!!!
Robyn hoddle, Fri 25 Oct 2013
I have no interest in rating the site as above. My comment is about the very poor parking signage for anyone approaching the site from the motorway. The area is poorly lit, the road markings have virtually disappeared so making it very hard to follow the correct slip road, particularly near the petrol station. The car park area is well lit but then it is difficult to adjust suddenly to darkness when leaving the car park to turn right onto the exit road. For safety's sake, it is about time some money was spent on road markings at least or even a different flow through route.
J Lowles, Mon 23 Sep 2013
Enjoyed having a short business meeting at the site and three of us ate and had coofee there. I was 34 mins over the 2 hours free stay and now Ã‚Â£60 fine. I can feel the glee in the eyes of Welocome Break and Parking eye. I find Ã‚Â£60 for 2 hours too draconian and shall not be using you again in a hurry (that's all Welcome Break Sites). Living in Norfolk I often drive past and call in, you are not without your competition.Once I called in at 8.00am then went to London and then called in again after 8.00pm - guess what a paring eye fine for 12 hours plus! On appeal I got automated repies turning the appeal down. How is that for arrogance. I am posting this to warn others although if you read this it is probably too late and also somewhwere someone takes the decision to employ Parking Eye and the conditions attached to parking at the site and if those of us that are troubled by the overall service then maybe they will do something about it.
Paul, Wed 11 Sep 2013
Dreadful. I filled up three times in a week and bought a lot of coffee and food. Please note...The cameras record you going into the shell station as well so this time is added onto your parking time. I received a Ã‚Â£100 charge which includes the time spent filling up.
Parking eye who issued the fine would give me no information whatsoever about who owns the land, or why a Ã‚Â£100 charge was levied.
But the thing that annoys me is that I made two visits and they've recorded it as one visit, taking the first time of entrance, and the second time I left after having visited a relative in hospital. They have ignored the fact that I've gone out an re-entered later.
I will be phoning the manager shortly and will re-post here his reply.
Jon Smith, Fri 30 Aug 2013
Visited today with my family, and we have been wondering how the name 'birchanger' is pronounced.
Is it Bir changer (as in a place to change, refresh and recharge) or birch-hanger (as in the tree and airport hanger).
We settled on the former, but changing the name to something non ambiguous would seem sensible.
superpatchy66, Sun 18 Aug 2013
Another driver hit my car whilst I was in the services with my husband and children (and drove off without reporting it). This happened on 29th May at between 5.45pm and 6.00pm. If anyone has any information I would be grateful, my car is a Silver BMW 1 Series. Now with a big dent in my drivers door! Thank you.
JAIME KEEBLE, Sun 2 Jun 2013
I got a parking ticket after using the services spending money, stayed for longer than two hours and have now recieved a parking ticket.I shall not be using the servivces again I shall not reccommend that anyone else uses them.I tried to phone, your phone service is rubbish, you cannot speak to anyone.
Steve Milton, Mon 29 Apr 2013
I am writing to let you know how disappointed I was after visiting the Starbucks operation at Birchanger Green Sunday 10th March 2013 at 15.51. (invoice 68415)
It was my first time as a customer with the Starbucks operation and it will certainly be my last!
The staff made no eye contact with me and served me poorly and my shortbread chocolate offering was dry and served in a brown paper bag. After spending Ã‚Â£7.95 I had thought I might get a plate! However, that's not my complaint!
I made my way to the seating area and was horrified. The carpets were filthy with crumbs and rubbish, the tables were dirty and the chairs looked so dirty I almost didn't want to sit down for fear of catching something. I actually felt like I needed a wash after I found a chair.
Think it's time for an Area Manager to make a visit and get everyone there to "up their game" as it was HORRIBLE!!!
Not in the habit of complaining but .....really....
Amanda Gliddon, Thu 14 Mar 2013
Made a brief stop for lunch. Impressed with the cleanliness, the friendly and courteous staff both serving and housekeeping. A very pleasant change from what one usually encounters at service stations.
Robert Saul, Tue 5 Mar 2013
have stopped here many many times as a regular user of the m11 but after today with the 2 hour limit on parking, this is absurd.Rush rush rush.Never stop here again.
christine robinson, Sat 22 Dec 2012
Been trying to call all day with no response. Have left my sunglasses there and wanted to retrieve them. Who to call?
shabs, Sat 3 Nov 2012
This service area is shambolic. There was a long queue to get in, not helped by the layout. Caravans disappear from the signs at the crucial moment; I parked where I could and saw where I should have parked when I returned to my car. To get fuel I had to queue, then cut across an exit lane before putting in the necessary minimum at a rip-off price. Finally, I completed the circuit and rejoined the exit queue. This area is to be used only in emergency.
Paul Chandler, Sat 25 Aug 2012
Stopped at this services on our way to our holiday. I must say how very impressed I was with the site. Very clean and well layed out. Toilets were spotless. The staff that served me in Waitrose and Starbucks were very fast friendly and efficent. Prices weren't too shocking by motorway standards either. The funny thing is - I work for Moto - you guys are doing it sooooo much better! Keep up the good work!
Travelling Mum, Tue 21 Aug 2012
I have a caravan, not a lorry & do not wish to be parked in the area of the service station that smells like a public toilet. Very disappointed with where we were directed to park by your staff.
Mrs Guthrie, Fri 17 Aug 2012
Listen, Brenda. The signs at Birchanger say that you can pay for 24 hours parking - Ã‚Â£10 for cars. So you obviously read the signs, the same ones which say you can be fined for staying over 2 hours. Don't blame them for you not bothering to read the signs properly! Plus, the only people who charged you over Ã‚Â£100 were Hertz. The average fine is about Ã‚Â£60, and Hertz add an admin fee. So you're wrong on both counts.From an insider's point of view: the limit at Welcome Break sites is 4 hours, not 2. Parking Eye (a completely separate company from Wb) put a safeguard in, so everyone who is complaining about a ticket - YOU STAYED OVER 2 HOURS LONGER THAN THE LIMITS ON THE (very obvious) SIGNS! It is your mistake, don't blame it on anyone else!
Anonymous, Thu 26 Jul 2012
I visited this place on a recent holiday to London. Our flight was out of Stansted at a silly time of morning. so thought it best to rest a while. We stayed 4 hours and 7 minutes, but this site informed us a Ã‚Â£10 charge would apply if overstayed could afford Ã‚Â£10.00 so no problems, until Hertz applied a charge of Ã‚Â£102.00 to credit card. Some difference between Ã‚Â£10 and Ã‚Â£102.00. I did not get out of my vehicle and would swear that I did not see any sign warning of fines in place. It is a rest stop after all clearly people use it to fight off fatigue. Fatigue would be one reason a person might not see a sign!Never going to London again got ripped off by hotel too!Brenda
brenda bolger, Wed 25 Jul 2012
Outrageously rip-off facility. Watch out, warning be careful of the 2 hour limit. Until recently I used to regularly (2 to 4 times a month) use this service for informal meetings with customers and suppliers to stop by take a coffee, have a biscuit and a chat. I once overran my 2 hour stay, and yes it often takes more than 40 mins to get out as several comments already testify . There are cameras tracking you in and out of the facility by recording your number plate. ParkingEye monitor the car park via cameras and charge an outrageous fee of Ã‚Â£60 if you over run the 2 hours limit. Good luck trying to find somewhere to buy a car park ticket too. So thatÃ¢Â€Â™s Ã‚Â£60 If you pay the overrun fee fast and Ã‚Â£120 (Ã‚Â£90 + Ã‚Â£30 for admin costs) if you take more than 14 days to pay. So for goodness sake donÃ¢Â€Â™t fall asleep, if you must stop get in, get what you want and get out fast and spend as little as possible. I will be writing to Welcome Break, I will never use this facility or any other run by Welcome Break again ever, further more my staff will be forbidden to use the services if they which to be reimbursed for expenses
Lina, Sun 22 Jul 2012
After reading the comments on this page, I took it as a challenge to visit Birchanger. Disappointingly, I can't find anything to complain about.
Starbucks very organised, toilets all fine.
The chocolates are a bit warm though
Rich, Fri 17 Feb 2012
Rubbish - made a "quick stop" and it took me over 45 minutes to get out again! Totally crazy traffic light controlled scheme that only allows a handful of cars out at a time onto the M11 roundabout. Won't be going back unless I absolutely have to.
ChrisR, Mon 6 Feb 2012
Stopped at Birchanger last night, 2nd February 2012, wish I hadn't. On this particular journey we usually stop at Cambridge or Peterborough Services for fresh and varied food with excellent customer services and with pleasent ambience.
We ordered from a surly individual at EatIn. He struggled with basic language skills and was totally indifferent to any attempt to treat him with good manners or respect. A slovenly woman served our drinks and took payment with not so much as a smile or word rather a grunt.
The food was awful, chicken dry and turning up at the edges, chips well past their sell by time and cold. The drinks were lukewarm. It was absolutely awful. We were hungry and in a hurry so eat half the food before both admitting defeat. It seemed too late then to complain. We had to order coffees from KFC to try and take the taste of the quite awful food away.
This is a slur on your good name Welcome Break, I notice a similar complaint recently and obviously nothing done. Get a grip, this is like going back to the 80's rubbish service reputation. Visit Cambridge and Peterborough and see how it should be done, as for the access and exit from the site just read back comments.
Avoid EatIn, vote with your feet (or mouths)
Peter Thorn, Fri 3 Feb 2012
Stopped off at Birchanger Services yesterday to break a three hour journey , wish I had'nt bothered . I ordered a Christmas Dinner Bap from a surley counter assistant at the Eat In counter . I can honestly say it was the worst 'food' I have ever attempted to eat . Two pieces of dried up turkey inside a dried up bap , topped with a piece of dried up stuffing . As they had run out of roast potatoe's I had to make do with six soggy chips . No ,I did'nt complain . I have a heart problem so try to stay calm if I can , but in this case it was very difficult . That's the first time I have been to Birchanger and it will certainly be the last .
Irene Patmore, Fri 2 Dec 2011
Have used this services many times with no problems. We regularly stop off for a bite to eat and stretch the dog's legs, as it is half way between our house and my parents house (a 3 hour trip each way). Never had a problem, even getting out we dont get stuck as many people seem to say. However, last couple of times we ordered at burger king. The bloke on the tills couldnt speak much English, didnt know the menu and we ended up with the complete wrong food! Wont be using the burger king again....
Louise, Wed 23 Nov 2011
I visited birchanger services at 830pm 30th october. I ordered pizza and chips with 2 coffees and a tea. The person behind the counter had an attitude as though he couldn't be bothered. He said get a table and I will bring it over to you. He brought the pizza over. I asked for the chips he went back and got them which I could see why they were free because they looked like the had been there all day and you couldn't sell them. I then asked about the tea and coffees which he then went over and brought back. They looked like 2 cups of mud and 1 dish water. I wasn't very impressed. Next time i'll go starbucks. Very bad customer service from the tall man at the eat in. Just as well I wasn't a mystery shopper that day.
john-lee swann, Mon 31 Oct 2011
Be very careful when parking there as I have just noticed some very strange and ominous conditions that you apparently agree too when using their car park.
If the vehicle you are using has any outstanding parking invoices from parking eye, the firm they use to regulate their car park, they think they have the right to clamp you vehicle and not release it till all the outstanding invoices and the clamping charge has been paid.
Even though this is illegal it is not going to help you much if you get clamped on the way to your holiday or whatever.
Even if you have no outstanding parking invoices how can you be sure if you have recently bought your vehicle second hand, can you be sure that your number plate has not been cloned?
I would appreciate Welcome Breaks comments on this.
Martin Robinson, Fri 30 Sep 2011
Beware if you enter these services. You are unlikely to exit any time soon. Whilst some staff do their best to direct queuing traffic, the lights that control the flow of traffic for the exit are faulty. The highways agency won't touch it because it's not a motorway, and the services won't complain to the local council as people spend longer in here.
So if you need a quick pee I would advise stopping on the hard shoulder because stopping here will cost you 45 minutes.
Harsh? It was the same last friday when we stopped here !
Simon tucker, Sat 30 Jul 2011
I pass these services once in the morning and once in the late afternoon going to and from work. One day in June I happened to pop in to get a coffee both in the morning and afternoon. I subsequently recieved a fine for Ã‚Â£60 for parking there all day! The camera must have recorded me once each visit, and made this assumption. I shall challenge of course, but what a way to treat faithful customers!
Chris Turner, Tue 26 Jul 2011
Wasted 50 minutes of my life going absolutely nowhere thanks to these dreadfully laid out services. Slight queue on the way in and then nothing, didn't move at all, total gridlock. This place was obviously designed by a lunatic.I didn't stop and thought it best just to sit it out. Nobody directing traffic. A few blokes in high vis vests looking totally bewildered and really having no effect as most of them were just staring into space. Coaches and lorries along with cars in a total free for all to get onto the slip road. I thought for one minute I was in Italy and to top it off the main lights on the roundabout let out about 4 cars hence the gridlock. An absolutely shockingly bad experience.
Mick, Tue 31 May 2011
I work at Birchanger Green and have done so for a while. I sympaphise with everybody who has had problems getting in and out of the site, I was once 30 mins late for work because it took me so long to get in!
Birchanger have been trying for years to have a 2nd exit built just after the Days Inn onto the smaller roundabout to ease the exiting traffic, just after Junction 8 but have continually been denied by Essex County Council because it will affect 'local traffic,' according to them.
The average time a Birchanger employee will last is about 12 months because workers are either a) sacked, b) resigned or c) deported. We've had staff hired whose criminal records werent updated and the management have failed to check it.
One thing I will not defend about our site is our prices. Some of our high prices are deeply unfair in a time of global economic problems to customers, and the management state that the prices are increased because the site is losing money..... sound management methods there! A rumour circulated that a price watchdog was investigating us but we never heard from them
The 2006 report was a rocket fired up managements arse and many changes for much better have happened since.
Anon, Thu 20 Jan 2011
20 minutes queuing from the roundabout to get in. Due to gridlock, dumped car in the HGV carpark as had many others. Another 30+ minutes to get out back onto the roundabout and rejoin the M11 due to terrible signage and traffic lights that only let out five or six cars onto the roundabout at a time.
This isnt the first time I have been stuck this bad at Birchanger, but it will be the last as I shall avoid the place from nowon, however desperate I am for toilet / fuel / food.
In short : Avoid like the plague, unless you want to extend your journey time by sitting in standing traffic waiting to rejoin the motorway.
Mike Swallow, Tue 28 Dec 2010
We tried to visit this service station last night travelling North after a trip to Brighton. We navigated using the signage and as we did not want petrol continued around the garage following 'cars' and arrows. We easily found the exit road without really trying and veered right at the last moment to prevent exiting.We did the system again focusing on the service station which we could see in the centre of the complex where customers were eating and congregating but although four of us tried to interpret the directions we could not find a way in again. It was like being consigned to a maze forever.If we hadn't needed to use the loos we would have just abandoned it.So, in frustration, we ended up stopping at the garage where at least there was a loo, bought some sweets and left.Mad!Won't use it again.
rossettio, Mon 25 Oct 2010
my daughter was subjected to a ordeal at Birchanger green services last Friday morning atb 4 o'clock He followed her in a menacing way in his car blocking her exit and making her detour along ununknown lane.He tried to obertake her and drove at 60 mph she manged tfind the motorway and the police were informedDoes this services have security cameras.This man must be found
Anonymous, Wed 13 Oct 2010
MISSING CAT - Lia escaped her carrier when at Welcome Break Services, Birchanger Green M11 on Friday 3rd September. Long haired tortoishell female cat. If you are in the area please take a look for her.Thank you!Contact Cats Protection on 03000 12 12 12
Samantha Shoults, Thu 9 Sep 2010
If I had to choose between stopping off for a meal or eating my left hand, I'd eat my hand
Benjamin, Mon 23 Aug 2010
Enter car park at your peril. It takes hours to get out
joe, Sun 22 Aug 2010
Stopped here on the way to and from our holiday and found it to be a very nice stop. The place and the toilets were all clean and staff polite. Ate KFC and all ok with that too. Car park is badly laid out.
Lou, Sun 18 Jul 2010
Who designed the road system!!!! Sat in none moving traffic for over an hour with an eleven week old uncomfortable baby. Sort it out!
Katie smith, Fri 16 Jul 2010
Possibly the best Showers on the UK Motorway services. They are always clean and warm. If only the rest of the services were as good as this site!!
NI Trucker, Wed 14 Jul 2010
I am a coach driver and think that welcome break offers better choice and service than moto or road cheff. they also look after coach drivers very well. I always try to stop at a welcome break so my passengers get a good refreshing stop. however Birchanger was a break from welcome breaks norm. Diry, unplesent staff, cold food the toilets smelt so bad they made you feel sick to all do use welcome break they are very good take it from somone who stops at them alot just avoid Birchanger as if your life depends on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John, Thu 1 Jul 2010
Had food poisoning ever since I ate a cheese/Ham sandwich from the coffee primo. Have tried in vain to contact that outlet to discuss. No one picks up the phone. Need I say more?
caroline, Tue 17 Nov 2009
We pulled in at birchanger after a long day at 2245hrs on the 4th July 2009, for something to eat which we thought was a 24hr service station; only to find that everyone was shutting up! I found out that closing time was 2300hrs. No one could be bothered to serve food or drink. I find this very poor being near to a main service area near to Stansted Airport and on the M11 going to London.
Ian Chatters, Sat 4 Jul 2009
Travelling on motorbike, tired, weiry and ready for a refreshing break, we needed somewhere to secure our bike to. My husband pulled up against a fence and was going to chain the bike to it, only to be challenged by a member of staff, advising us to move. We ended up taking a carparking bay, which was not entirely suitable. Why do these places provide for coaches, disabled and general travellers but not bikers!! please rectify this.
ann senior, Fri 19 Jun 2009
After visiting the services Sunday 22nd March, one of several visits over the last few months. I would like to point out that the entrance road surface requires urgent repairs as more pot-holes are appearing and the exsisting ones are getting bigger. Not very nice to dodge the pot-holes or suffer a broken suspension along with a large repair bill.
George, Wed 25 Mar 2009
Driving back up north from Maidstone, quite tired, long day, etc.... the layout of the roads confused me and made me think I was even more tired and hallucinating: Petrol station placed before car park & main building?!? Never seen that before?! I needed petrol too, so my tired self ended up making two circuits of the entire site... one to find a parking space, another to get petrol and get out!!
Paul, Fri 9 Jan 2009
Called in for petrol on 27/12 at 3pm. Filled up in 10 minutes, but it took one hour to get out and back on the motorway. The queues were horrendous and nobody there to help. Very badly organised - stay away!
john corbett, Mon 29 Dec 2008
Despite the building work taking up part of the coach park, the area is clean and welcoming. There are wheelie bins to get rid of rubbish sacks rather than having to stuff them into (or leave them beside) litter bins. The staff are always cheerful, and service is slick!
cycoticpenguin, Sun 12 Oct 2008
Birchanger services on M11 by Stanstead, visited on way up north with my partner and my 9 month old daughter, excellent facilities for toddlers, microwave (clean), spoons in sealed packets, bibs - all round excellent service for toddlers!!!!
Andy Hall, Fri 29 Aug 2008
It's always a problem with this industry - usually poorly trained staff on poor wages which gives even poorer morale. That in turn give a poor level of service customer complaints, again killing morale. The food costs are silly on the basic stuff [ Tea, Coffee, Water, sandwiches ] but they have a captive audience. I usually bring my own sandwiches and just buy a coffee - though the last coffee here made me buy a flask! These people pay a lot of money to operate these motorway services but really do shoot themselves in the foot. I think these places need a General Manager with a day & night deputy, who actually have the teeth to manage with only guidance from head office. Assuming there is a Site Director, it's time they directed on the ground rather than sit on their bum for their 60kpa. Good staff should be rewarded with something tangible - which means better wages and all customer facing staff [not management] should benefit from performance bonues. This enables the General Manager to surround themself with people who can do. Things don't change though........
Robert, Sat 23 Aug 2008
my wife was appalled when she ordered a "delicious thick shake" and was charged Ã‚Â£2.49 for half a glass of flavoured mlik mixed with half a glass of crushed ice! some people might like that sort of thing if it was properly advertised but we agree they dont really have a clue and they have the ordasity to charge extortionate prices for the privilege.
Anthony White, Sun 10 Aug 2008
Birchanger is simply the worst services I've ever stopped at. The staff are either a)Rude b)un-trained c)unable to give the most basic assistance to customers d)have NO customer facing skills whatsoever....the list could on...
KGB, Thu 24 Jul 2008
The manager and staff should visit a rest area/services on a French autoroute to see how it should be run. God knows what foriegn tourists think of this country, if they stop at Birchanger. The only reason that I stop there now is because they sell Shell V-Power and that is vastly over priced.
Geoff Boston, Fri 24 Aug 2007
I stopped for a break here on Monday 5 March 07 traveling from Stansted back to Yorkshire.
Granted it was 2am and restaurant provision limited but what was availible looked dry & stale, the place seem deserted gave up waiting in the end, where the staff were I can't imagine and the toilets were appalling the stench over powering and most of the facilities out of order
Will not be stopping here again
Gary Farrimond, Wed 7 Mar 2007
we called in at Birchanger on route from midlands to Stansted . it was early morning , about 8am , it was filthy , toilets in the mens were mostly all blocked and over flowing or not in order . the smell was over powering. the food was ok , but quite pricey we thought. and as for access around that island , its more complicated than spaghetti junction, i drove round the car park twice before finding the exit !!
jake, Sat 13 Jan 2007
Its ok for the toilets butif you want anything else then you're going to pay a heavy price.
Phil, Sat 13 Jan 2007
The route from the M11 roundabout to the customer car park was so convuluted and poorly signposted that we eventually gave upand drove on.
Roger Brett, Sun 7 Jan 2007
This is the only service station I use on a regular basis... but not out of choice. It is about midway for the stop on a frequent journey, and therefore ideal. But it is pricey, dirty, and generally badly maintained. Sometimes it's best to just keep driving...
Pete, Tue 26 Dec 2006
Possibly the most EXPENCIVE services in the world ever. This is the place that can justify selling a CUP of tea for Â£2.95 avoid it if you can...
Keith, Mon 11 Dec 2006
Avoid at all costs.
Michael Horridge, Mon 4 Sep 2006
We arrived at Birchanger Green en route from Stansted to Cheshire at about 3.30pm on 3rd September. Not having eaten since breakfast in Jerez we looked forward to a decent meal. We did not bargain for this abomination. The soup was cold, the chips were cold, hard and probably reheated numerous times. The fish and chicken were tasteless. I have eaten better meals in mountain refuges at 10000feet for a fraction of the cost.
Malcolm Gruber, Mon 4 Sep 2006
We stopped at Birchanger Green earlier this evening.All we wanted was a pot of tea. The pot was cracked, there were no clean teaspoons, the tray was filthy as was the eating area and the assistant was diffident. We also visited the toilets, perhaps the best thing to say about that experience is "Don't go there!" We tried expressing concern to the Duty Manager and asked for a Customer Comment card only to be told that "we don't do those" when we related the problem to her she was not interested at all.Congratulations Welcome Break. Birchanger Green wins first prize for rude staff and lack of hygiene.
Annie and John Rile, Sat 19 Aug 2006
i went in to the service area for a coffee etcon my return to our coach we noticed on the lawns 5 large rats near the entrance to the coach park. do you not have a vermin policy it seems very unhygenic to have such a large amount of vermin so near to the kitchen area it is very worrying
Mr S J Hubbard, Sun 9 Jul 2006
I am a nightshift trucker and drink a lot of coffee every night. Stopping here in the early morning I wanted a simple large strong black coffee. All the Coffee Primo machines were closed through the night. What I ended up with was a Medium coffee that had been kept warm for hours. The fact that Welcome Break do Â£600 - Â£800 per year at Roadchef. The fact that we pay so much for a little coffee and hot water is obscene but the fact that you deny customers this service because its dark, then charge them the same rate is more than annoying.
Brian McNamara, Sun 26 Mar 2006
Always collect your drink before a hot meal and if there is a queue at the till ask the servery to bring the meal to you, because there is quite a distance to the non-smoking eating area. This will cause your meal to be almost cold by the time you sit down if you follow the "normal" route round the food area.
Stephen Poulton, Tue 28 Feb 2006
Birchanger Green Services M11 is a 2 burger rated service area.
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