London Gateway Services

Opened: 1969 as Scratchwood Services
Original owner: Forte
Renamed: 1999 as London Gateway
Current Owner: Welcome Break
Location: Between Junction 2 and Junction 4.


The guns of HMS Belfast are said to be trained on this MSA.HMS Belfast is permanently moored beside Tower Bridge and is open as a museum. And its 12.5 miles for a shell to travel from HMS Belfast to MSA.

A one site services, located on the Northbound side but accessible by southbound traffic by a bridge.

At the site of the non-existent Junction 3. Originally, J3 was to be a link road between M1 and A1. This was never built. The bridge was then used for the services- allowing southbound traffic across the motorway to the services.

Built on a disused railway yard.

A study by University College in London found that the first services outside a city gained 50% more trade than others. so Fortes went to town in designing this site, as both an advertisment for other Fortes services, and also learning by the mistakes of the other sites that had been developed in the 1960s.

In 2002 opened a 202-bedroom Days Inn hotel costing 10 Million pounds.

HMS Belfast:

“What do you mean you want to cancel our free breakfast “arrangement”. Especially as my finger is dangerously near the fire button…”

recently redeveloped as part of the re-branding and renamed as London Gateway

The site currently has a 5 Star Loo of the year Award 2003 along with 33 others in the road transport category. (find best loos overall)

Still has a Sheerings Coaches interchange

Scratchwood- as first built. Today you won’t see all this beautiful architecture, its all been covered or replaced.
Its just too good so lets have a closer look. No sharp edges here, even on the walls.
This part of scratchwood looks a little Spanish in influence. A world away from the typical boxes of the 1960s.
The Grill Room, in 1969
Entrance today (2006)


Phil Reynolds

Received votes so far and a sample of comments:

People who prefer this MSA 17
People happy to visit 7
People who avoid this MSA 6
Selection of comments received actually rather nice, unlike any other MSA I have been to. 19/05/2006 12:58:06
The split-level arrangement going north is a bit of a pain – when I used a wheelchair the lift was frequently unreliable 24/06/2006 14:14:08
Southbound is best for me! you cant beat costa! 15/09/2006 18:51:51
Southbound Costa Coffee staff must be trained to work at snails pace – and still get orders wrong on the second attempt – quite a skill!!! 19/09/2006 08:31:56
Great services, spectacular views and great service 20/02/2007 15:55:08
surely the comments posted here are incorrect as site is ONLY Northbound-there is no tower and were are the spectacular views 29/10/2008 17:59:35
Is this near the area where Fairport Convention crashed their transit van onto a golf course in May 1969? Anyone remember that or how far it was from here? 18/04/2009 18:10:50
I wish I had a time machine 28/12/2009 15:50:54
the cleanliness of the toilet was not to the required standard.very smelly and no loo roll.12/02/2010 20:57:12
if leaving london – i just want to leave the city and head up north. 08/03/2011 16:48:32


  1. please am looking for Anny Berd,from scrach wood.she is like a mother to she lookd after me when i was in school and i cant faind her again please help me to see her. thank you.

  2. I remember stopping at Scratchwood Services when I drove to Northampton from East Sussex during the 1970,s and early 1980,s. Had to drive through London in those days as M25 was not completed. Being close to the start of the M1 in London, Scratchwood was a welcome stop for a comfort break and cup of tea.

  3. They can rebrand it as many times as they like, but I will always call it “Scratchwood”…always have done…always will do.
    (Posted on 14th January 2018)


  1. Forsaken | Angie Muldowney - [...] should be Land’s End (the actual Land’s End in Cornwall is more akin to Scratchwood Services). This should be…

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