Opened in 1962, Strensham services are as old as the M5 they serve. Originally constructed by Kenning Motor Group, they were the subject of a management buy-out in 1994 to become Take-a-Break which in turn was sold to Roadchef in 1998.
The original services were built directly opposite each other close to the junction with the M50, but when the M5 was widened from two to three lanes and the junction remodelled in the early 90s the northbound services - which had always had a very restricted site - were relocated half a mile to the north. The old location of the northbound services is now a highways maintenance depot.
By the time that Roadchef took over the services a few years later, therefore, the southbound site was by far the older of the two and so Roadchef completely rebuilt it using a design that would become the template for all their subsequent constructions. The blocky "glass-fronted airport hanger" layout gives a light and spacious feel to the interior and avoids a rigid distinction between catering, retail and rest areas. Strensham Southbound is Roadchef's flagship MSA, and also both their busiest and most profitable.
The northbound site, having been constructed by Kenning in 1991 to completely replace the original location, has a very different internal layout based on curves and circles and a more traditional distinction between catering and retail areas. Northbound is also noticeably less busy than the southbound site, even in peak periods - it seems that, heading south, Strensham is just the right distance after Birmingham to be a good stopping place for holidaymakers or commercial travellers, whereas travelling home from the Southwest people are more inclined to feel in need of a break by the time they reach Gordano or Michaelwood.
The northbound site is also noticeable for being the home of the Worcestershire County Air Ambulance. The landing ground and hanger are just to the south of the main service area, and can be accessed from both the motorway and the nearby local roads.
Strensham Services M5 is a 2 burger rated service area.