Eating on the road – the Roadside Gastro Guide

Can you eat & shop well on the motorway?

Well, not literally on the road, but what’s a foodie to do when travelling the highways and byways of the UK? According to a survey by by Europcar 95% of motorists believe the choice, price and quality of roadside food is unacceptable with 80% saying they have previously gone hungry rather than eat from the selection on offer. And certainly comparing it to what was on offer at the French services it is a rather poor show.

Europcar has teamed up with The Guild of Food Writers to produce the free-to-download Roadside Gastro Guide, to give some options to escape from the motorway and also to celebrate Britain’s local, independently owned eateries. Not just a list of renowned, Michelin-starred, celebrity chef restaurants, this guide tapped into the knowledge of  food writers and broadcasters including Anthony Worrall Thompson and Valentine Warnerto reveal 20 of Britain’s
hidden culinary gems. All are just a short drive off major roads.

Don’t want to do Chieveley services? Try The Crab at Chieveley instead, for anything from breakfast onwards, and is no more than 10 minutes away from the regular services. Stuck on the A12? Try Milsoms Bistro Restaurant in Dedham. The guide contains 20 different suggestions, from the Scottish Highlands to the Dorset coastline. It’s an interesting read, especially as it’s free, although rather surprising that it’s only available as a document, rather than anything more portable or interactive.

If you want something a bit more comprehensive, then there is a 2010 version of Near the Motorways:Affordable Alternatives to Service Stations, which came out in May. There are other books but they seem to be much older, so not necessarily as reliable.

Failing that, back to the picnic hamper and thermos flask!


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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