The average British service station is a stop to be endured rather than revered, a joyless break from the monotony of the motorway giving way to a feeding frenzy of stomachs and gas tanks refuelling at inflated prices.
But there is a hope, a rose amongst thorns. It's stationed on the M5 between Bristol and Gloucester, and it's called ... wait for it .... Gloucester Services.
Whilst the low profile name does little to give away the foodie mecca that lies within, the encroaching road sign makes the hearts of those in the know beat a little faster. Not merely a refuelling station, this is a food destination in its own right: this is the service station, that for the first time ever, has made the UK Good Food Guide, and it's a "modern marvel."
Restaurant and Farmhouse Shop
Nestled in the surrounding farmland the imaginative architecture secretes a restaurant and farmshop in a light and inviting space with an ethos of local, fresh and sustainable food.
Motorists can dine on home cooked local fare, where even overnight truckers are encouraged with a dining voucher. A fresh fish counter has become the go to place for local residents, not to mention the in–house butcher with local old spot Gloucester sausages and even wild boar sandwiches.
"Proper food with locality and a sense of belonging is at the very heart of everything we do," Sarah Dunning, owner of the independently run family business tells The Independent.
How do I get There?
So next time you sail southbound down the M5 don't forget to turn off (between junctions 12 and 11a), and prepare to get emotional at the sight of Gloucester Services.
Here's how it all began: