Road King, New Hollies Transport Cafe (formerly known as The Hollies Truck Stop) is situated on the A5 Watling Street, between Birmingham and Staffordshire in the West Midlands, just before the M6 Toll Road for those travelling Southbound or the junction just after for those travelling Northbound.
New Hollies is a very well-established transport café and has a strong claim on being the oldest in the country with records dating back to the 1930s, when it first opened as a tearoom for travellers.
During the 1940s and 1950s bed and breakfast facilities were added, and thanks to a large extension on the side of the building, it was known as “The Glasshouse”. In 1950, American actor Gregory Peck – at the time one of Hollywood’s most popular stars – dined there. In later years, entertainers as diverse as Tom Jones and Bernard Manning also visited the stop.
In 1959, the business was bought by Derek Curtis, a trucker, who both lived there and used the surrounding land as parking for his transport company vehicles. As he was so often on the road, he persuaded his wife, Margaret, to give up hairdressing and run the business with him – something they did over the next four decades. Derek sadly died in 1999, and Margaret sold the business in 2007.
It was around 1965 that the truck stop became known as The Hollies – although it also acquired another name. In the late 1960s a memorable young lady, Lilly, started work in the cafe. She was fond of make-up, but the heat had a bad effect on it – it became shiny, and her face looked greasy. As a result, The Hollies acquired the nickname “Greasy Lil’s”, and it is still occasionally referred to as that.
In 2002, The Hollies was named ‘Truck Stop of the Year’ by Truck and Driver magazine. A major refurbishment was undertaken between 2011–2013, and the business was rebranded as Road King.
Today, parking is available for all kinds of vehicle including cars and motorbikes, but Road King is best known as a truck stop. There is space for all types of HGV, including abnormal and heavy loads, and even an area dedicated to refrigerated trailer parking. The parking area is highly secure, with a perimeter fence, CCTV, and security personnel on patrol.
The New Hollies, Road King is open 24 hours a day, with facilities including a licensed restaurant and café with takeaway services, a coin-operated launderette, a travel shop, overnight accommodation with underfloor heating controlled by a thermostat, and showers and washing facilities.
The cafe offers a full and diverse menu – including the famous Road King “Mega Breakfast” as well as vegetarian options – and also has TV, free Wi-Fi, games, and a licensed bar. There’s also a separate drivers’ TV lounge.
The New Hollies customer reviews are consistently positive, with the quality of the food and the friendliness of the staff being singled out for particular praise.
If you’ve visited The Hollies / Road King truck stop and would like to share your experience, or perhaps you have a good story involving “Greasy Lil’s” – please share it with us in the comments below.
Positioned roughly in the middle of the England and less than an hour and a half’s drive away from the developing terminal in Seaforth we’ll be operating from soon, The New Hollies Road King Café makes a great location for breaks and HGV changeovers travelling North or South.