Park up, stretch your legs and find out why everyone is raving about Skelton Lake Services…
It’s not often that we get excited about a new service station opening, but this one is an architectural beauty complete with nature trails, cycle paths, a whopping great lake and an RSPB wildlife centre. Recently opened by Extra MSA Group, it’s fair to say that Leeds Skelton Lake Service Area is a motorway stop like no other. Nestled in the countryside at junction 45 of the M1 and jam-packed with 18 of your favourite shops and restaurants, it isn’t just a pit stop, it’s a destination all of its own.
Despite the surprises in store, Leeds Skelton Lake Services still does everything you need a service station to do. A 24-hour Texaco fuelling station with hot and cold snacks? Of course. The latest high-powered 350kW charging points provided by IONITY? Oh yes. A food court filled with yummy eat-in and takeaway options? Darn right. However, once you see what else is on offer you might well want to stay a little longer. Luckily, the generous three hours of free parking gives you plenty of time to explore.
More than just a welcome rest from the road, the environmentally-conscious building, designed by Leeds architects, Corstorphine + Wright, is a joy to behold. Inspired by the surrounding countryside, the specially-made Glulam timber beams all the way from Vienna follow the gentle curve of the centre’s modern, undulating ceiling. Above, a ‘Living Green Roof’ adorned with native meadow species forms a biodiverse crown for local wildlife, while the enormous windows flood the service station with natural light and offer a view to the countryside just beyond.
The sweeping lines, expansive interior and landscaped grounds set a new standard for motorway services in the UK. But no rest is complete without a refuel and Leeds Skelton Lake Services is chock-full of delicious options. There’s takeout tastiness thanks to big brands like Burger King, Leon, KFC, Starbucks and Chopstix. Tortilla, Upper Crust and The Pasty Shop are in there too. Plus, there’s an al fresco picnic area to scoff on when the sun’s out.
If you want to grab and go, Urban Express and Spar will cater to all your quick-fix needs. From sarnies to chocolate bars, crisps to Coke, they’ve got all your favourite road-trip nibbles and more besides. But why not linger a while? Take a time out at the Quicksilver arcade or sit down to a hearty feed from restaurant favourites like Pizza Express, Nando’s and Harry Ramsden’s. That’s right, a service station where you can get a proper chippy dinner – what a time to be alive!
If artisanal fresh food takes your fancy have a gander at Sourced Market, a delicious deli that puts local, independent producers front and centre. Devour freshly-made quiches from The Original Baker, artisan bread from Bakeri Baltzersen, free range rotisserie chicken from Farmison & Co and all manner of seasonal delights at the build-your-own salad bar. They even have gift hampers and craft beers from Kirkstall Brewery to take home with you. It’d be rude not to really, wouldn’t it?
And if you want to stay the night, a shiny new Ramada hotel means you can bed down in one of 100 air-conditioned rooms complete with flat-screen TV, private bathroom, free wifi and parking, bar, restaurant and gym. The perfect place to recuperate after a long day on the road (or an action-packed day exploring the local countryside!)
The inside is mighty impressive, but it’s the great outdoors that makes these services truly special. With woodland, nature reserves and open fields all on its doorstep, Leeds Skelton Lake Services brings new meaning to the term ‘stretch your legs’. If you’ve got youngsters in tow, they can burn off energy at the spacious play area before you all take a stroll over to the 60-acre Skelton Lake just a short walk away. The wide walkway loops around the water’s edge and is a haven for local wildlife, colourful plants and bird-spotting galore. Don’t forget your binoculars!
Owners Extra MSA Group have worked tirelessly with environmental groups like RSPB to ensure the service station didn’t just preserve the beauty of this important natural habitat, but actually enhanced it. In fact, they’ve opened an RSPB Visitor Centre and Viewing Deck for all you wildlife enthusiasts. If you want to get even closer to nature, Leeds Skelton Lake Services connects a network of walking routes extending into the wider Calder and Aire Valleys, Rothwell Country Park and St Aidan’s Nature Reserve. Plus, the popular Wykebeck Way cycle route, which runs from Roundhay Park to Temple Newsam, whizzes right by the back door and there’s plenty of parking for your bike, making this a prime stop-off on your next adventure.
A true gateway to the Yorkshire countryside, the positive impact of Leeds Skelton Lake Services continues to be felt. As well as improving connectivity, future-proofing transport links and boosting economic growth, the service station now employs a whopping 300 people with job priority given to local communities. A further 400 jobs were generated during the 18-month construction phase, and a collaboration with social enterprise, Ahead Partnership, saw key members of the project work with local schools to introduce pupils to future employment opportunities.
So you see, we really weren’t kidding when we said this was a service station like no other.