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It was lashing down with rain when we pulled in at these services en route to Cambridge with a hungry 3 year old in tow. So I will give the cleaners the benefit of the doubt, as the entrance to the place was filthy - muddy footprints, and hazardous wet floors. Anyway we headed straight for the "restaurant" and breakfast. £7.99 for a plate of wilting toast, a couple of greasy sausages, an egg, some beans and some bacon wasn't the worst part! On top of that, tea or coffee starts at almost 2 quid, so for two people (we decided the little one would have to share ours!), you're talking nearly £20 before you've even touched the petrol pumps.
There was a display of supposedly healthy options for kids, but to be honest, they were all overpriced. And I've often wondered exactly what chemicals are used to keep apple slices white in the packet - surely apples go brown if left when you slice them?
Anyway, the only other option in these services to this extortionate place is Burger King - and let's just say I'm not a fan. There's also a fairly standard shop in the services, selling newspapers, magazines, sweets etc. That was OK - nothing worthy of comment really. There are also toilets and baby changing facilities, but we made the mistake of using these the ones at the petrol forecourt - more of which later.
Next stop was the services' petrol station - again very expensive, but with the added attraction of the rudest staff I've ever encountered! When I asked for a receipt, I was glared at as though I was completely mad and had to repeat myself before I was given said receipt, accompanied by a sigh of derision.
The worst bit of all though was the forecourt toilets - disgusting doesn't even start to cover it. Without wanting to go into too much detail and put people off their dinner, it was gross and the floor clearly hadn't seen a mop and bucket for quite some time.
I can only assume that this service area is so bad because it has a captive audience, and there are no other services for some 20 miles. Also, it's right on top of the last junction before the QE2 bridge (or the first junction after the Dartford Tunnel, depending which way you're travelling!) so I imagine that it's a convenient place to stop for a lot of M25 travellers. But convenient it may be - pleasant it most certainly isn't.