A huge crash that closed off part of the M25 on Tuesday left drivers stranded in their vehicles but in a nearby branch of Ikea, customers had an altogether more comfortable delay.
An overturned lorry closed off the Dartford Crossing for hours on Tuesday, leaving around 200 customers inside the Thurrock branch of the Swedish furniture retailer completely stuck.
Faced with no way to get home, customers were offered the chance to cosy up and take a little nap in the display beds in the store’s show bedrooms.
Media consultant Fergal Parkinson shared a now-deleted snap of his wife and daughter tucked up in one of the beds.
He wrote: ‘Due to an accident on the #m25 hundreds of people are stuck in @IKEAUK in #Thurrock as the roads are gridlocked.
‘People, including my wife and daughter, are being told they can stay the night in the @IKEAUK bedrooms if they like.’
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Natasha Boardman Steer posted a picture of her husband flat out on a bed, writing alongside: ‘Glad to finally have our room.’
She later revealed that she left the store at 9.30pm while a friend added she had been forced to stay at a Premier Inn in Lakeside due to the ongoing delays.
Esther Rolinson was also stuck in the Essex branch with her daughter and shared images of her little girl’s artwork.
She tweeted: ‘My daughter and I are trapped in ikea due to crash on M25…5hrs +counting ..colouring in is saving our sanity..just…thank god for felt tips, rainbows and unicorns.’
The store had been due to close at 10pm but stayed open until stranded shoppers were finally able to get back on the roads just before 11pm.
An Ikea spokeswoman said: ‘There was actually no one staying overnight. It closed as normal.
‘There was a softer closer than normal but the store was completely empty by 10.45pm.’
Two lorry drivers suffered minor injuries in the crash, which happened at around 2pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Highways England said on Wednesday morning that the crossing had reopened but warned of delays around junction 30 of the M25.