'I visited the 'Rolls Royce' of service stations praised by Gary Barlow'

Tebay Services north-bound
-Credit: (Image: Manchester Family / MEN)

Service stations are usually a place you visit for necessity on a long journey.

Often you go for a bite to eat, a trip to the loo or to stretch your legs and more often than not, they're nothing particularly special to look at. However, there's one in Cumbria that's been bucking this trend since 1972 - Tebay Services.

As many know, this particular pitstop isn't your average one, as it's actually got a farmshop and kitchen. Last month, Gary Barlow hailed it the 'Rolls Royce' of service station when he visited on a trip from Scotland to Manchester, the MEN reports.

Sharing a photo of the sign for the services, he wrote: "The Rolls Royce of service stations #Tebay". He followed it up with a photo of a coffee cup from the site, which lists the other Westmorland Family-owned services in Gloucester and Cairn Lodge, Lanarkshire.

The northbound Tebay was the first site for the family in the early 1970s when it was built across from their farmland. This started their service station empire, offering simple good food and selling local produce which they say is still "the foundation of everything we do".

Tebay Services north-bound even has its own duck pond
Tebay Services north-bound even has its own duck pond -Credit:Manchester Family / MEN

Although Tebay Services have a long history of being a picturesque and destination service station - not everyone has experienced it. This includes a reporter from the Manchester Evening News, Emma Gill, who shared their thoughts on a trip to Tebay.

In her review, she wrote: "It was mid-morning when we arrived, but after an early start from Manchester we were all craving a decent breakfast, which is thankfully on the menu until 11.30am.

"I had expected a buffet-style set-up, but there was quite a queue forming to order the hot food from staff who were serving it up individually, asking each person the typical questions of scrambled or fried eggs, white or brown toast?

"As nice as that was, it seemed to take a long time to get to us and you then had to pay, which meant a further delay getting the food to the table. But if you are in a particular rush there's a separate Quick Kitchen where you can grab and go to avoid the wait.

"After hearing rumblings of 'no sausages' while we queued, we quickly established that a fresh batch was almost finished. Crisis averted.

Inside Tebay Services north
Inside Tebay Services north -Credit:Manchester Family / MEN

"The two Westmorland breakfasts (£9.95 each) we got were delicious - and the Cumberland sausages looked so good when they arrived on the counter, we couldn't help but order an extra cheeky one for the road. £1.50 well spent as they were the best part of it.

"While one of the kids went for a breakfast bap, with - you guessed it - Cumberland sausage, the other made use of the kids eat for £1 deal where they get to choose two items from the breakfast menu, plus toast.

"The food was faultless, but it's just one small part of what makes this place so popular.

"If you've got little ones with you there's a small soft play section tucked away in the corner of the dining area. There's lots of seating outdoors, with a woodland picnic area and even a little duck pond, which looked glorious in the sunshine.

"Dogs are welcome, there's even a dog walking route, and they're allowed in the foyer area of the main building where you can grab a hot drink from the self serve machines, which we did before heading off, making sure we had some caffeine for the long journey ahead.

The Westmorland breakfast
The Westmorland breakfast -Credit:Manchester Family / MEN

"The Farmshop here is on another level too. With a butcher's counter, deli and cheese counters and fresh fruit and veg, including boxes of strawberries stacked high, it's got the makings of a traditional high street all in one place.

"We just about managed to resist the cakes on offer at the patisserie, but the kids weren't going anywhere without a taste of salted caramel ice cream from the Kimi's Gelato concession. Made less than 10 miles away at Kimi's Gelato Bar in Staveley, it's slowly churned using locally sourced free range milk to achieve the dense, creamy texture unique to Italian-style ice cream and is hand finished with seasonal ingredients and toppings.

"There's lots more in the shop too, from clothing and homeware to skincare and a rather tempting display of hot chocolate bombs.

"In fact we loved it so much that we decided to stop off at the south-bound Tebay Services on our return trip.

"We didn't have quite as much time on our hands so decided on the speedier Quick Kitchen, where we were greeted with a hot counter full of tasty looking savoury snacks and a central table packed with sweet treats like brownies, tiffin and the chocolate shortbread that immediately caught my daughter's eye.

"She went for some chips first, which were not only better than any service station chips we'd ever eaten, but a better standard than some restaurants and pubs serve up.

"The honey mustard chipolata sausage pot (£4.50) was too tempting to turn down and every bit as tasty as it looked and the Steak and Hawkshead ale pie (£5.85) was incredible. Shortcrust pastry filled with succulent steak pieces in a rich flavoursome gravy.

"We grabbed another coffee for the road and headed back to Manchester with not only fond memories of our trip to Scotland, but of the service stops that made it extra special."