It's not often that the thought of visiting a service station will fill you with excitement but a trip to Gloucester Services is a very different story! Mark and I have been meaning to visit ever since they opened (you can find them southbound on the M5 between junctions 11A and 12) and we finally got the chance when I was invited to the story of Gloucester services Christmas, a chance to meet some of the local suppliers (some were from less than 5 miles away which was pretty impressive!) and see some of the amazing Christmas items they have available at the services.
We thought it looked like the Tellytubby house, what do you think?
I have to say, this was the most tranquil service station I have ever been to, it looked like even the car park was designed to be as stress-free as possible!
Inside there was an shop filled with stacks of gifts and books for all ages. Isn't this bookshelf amazing? I am still trying to convince Mark that we need it in our flat!
We didn't actually buy any of the food in the Kitchen but it looked and smelt amazing and there were plenty of people enjoying it when we visited. All of the food sold and prepared here is supplied locally and it was brilliant to see how many local businesses had benefited from the services opening, rather than being pushed out by big chains.
My favourite part though was this beautiful lake out the back of the restaurant. Even though the motorway was only a few hundred metres away, it was really peaceful and you got the added benefit of gorgeous views out across the Gloucestershire countryside.
I seriously had to restrain myself in the farmshop as there was amazing food wherever you turned....
This patisserie counter was particularly tempting!
You could get amazing chorizo and dried meats which smelt divine, I will definitely be coming back for these!
There is also a full-sized butcher's counter and fishmonger which I think is pretty amazing, definitely a good place to pop into if you are planning a dinner party!
Mark was very excited about the pies!
The cheese counter was amazing, Mark had to physically drag me away before I bought the entire stock...
It was so nice to chat to the various suppliers at the event. I love hearing people talking about their passion and all of the people involved in the services are clearly very enthusiastic about what they do which is massively inspiring! There were delicious sausage rolls from Cinderhill Farm...
...delicious pies from Legges of Bromyard
...award-winning veggie food from The Parsnipship. Don't get me wrong, I love goat's cheese as much as the next gal but it was nice to see veggie food that wasn't your traditional 'one dish on a menu' fare.
Godsell's Cheese are based just around the corner from the services and I found out that you can even visit them at their farm, which I hope to do very soon!
I was so excited to see russet apples from Mudwalls Farm, they are my absolute favourite (I blame Little Women for my obsession!) but you can rarely get them in supermarkets.
My family has been a massive fan of Contemporary Cakes ever since my Grandma discovered them at the farmer's market and they make the most amazing cakes. (Just look at how delicious my uncle's birthday cake or my grandparents 50th anniversary cake look!) They are so lovely and even raved about how lovely my grandma was which really made me smile as she is the best! :D
The Patisserie Box is the wing of their business that sells these delicious desserts. Those Christmas pudding chocolate-y cakes were divine and I may be a blogger cliché but I do love macarons!
Just some of the amazing gifts available in the gift shop...
I also got the chance to meet the lovely head baker at the services (unfortunately I have a brain like a sieve and have forgotten her name!) about testing recipes and taking them from an idea to the delicious treats you can see here which was very interesting. You never realise just how much effort goes into making all of this!
These stollen and mince pies were lovely, you can't beat some German treats at Christmas!
Mark was very taken by these chocolate brownies and apparently they tasted as good as they looked!
I was also really intrigued by the Natural Spa Factory products, I love me some luxury bath products and the scrubs were amazing. I am hoping Mark gets me the Mulled Wine scrub as it just smells so Christmassy!
We were very kindly supplied with a jute bag filled with delicious treats which we have been working our way through this past week or so. I can't rave about these services enough and I have no doubt that Mark and I will be heading back to stock up on delicious food and Christmas gifts very soon!
Have you tried Gloucester Services yet?
P.S. I was invited to this press event but all opinions are my own!