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M6 motorway

The M6 motorway is the longest motorway in England, United Kingdom. It runs from a junction with the M1 near Rugby in central England to Carlisle, close to the Scottish border. It is often claimed to be the busiest motorway in the country, although the M25 may also lay claim to this dubious distinction, depending on the measurement used.

Table of contents
1 History and curiosities
2 M6 Toll
3 Future developments
4 Junctions

History and curiosities

The first section of the motorway, and indeed the first motorway in the country, near Preston, was opened by then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on December 5,1958. In subsequent years the motorway was extended piecemeal in both directions and is now 230 miles long. On the elevated ground between Shap and Tebay, the north and south-bound carriages split apart. Uniquely, at this point a local road runs between the two carriageways without a junction to the motorway.

M6 Toll

The M6 Toll, Britain's first toll- paying motorway, was partially opened (to local traffic only) on December 9 2003 and fully opened a few days later, and runs around the east and northern sides of Birmingham and Walsall in addition to the current M6, intended to alleviate congestion at the latter's busiest point near to Wolverhampton between the M54 and M5 motorways. This stretch of motorway, at least prior to the opening the toll, carried 180,000 vehicles per day. It was designed to carry only 72,000 vehicles.

An alternative method of by passing the congestion round the West Midlands (if travelling North) is to stay on the M1 then take the A50.

Future developments


The A556(M) link road, providing a route to the M56 eastbound towards Manchester for motorists coming from the south on the M6 has been the subject of a public inquiry for many years.


The M74 upgrade near Gretna Green will extend the motorway to the Scottish border, connecting the M6 to the M74. On completion it is widely believed that the M74 will be renamed the M6, creating a motorway running more than 350 miles from Rugby to Glasgow. However the Scottish Executive has been very reticent in confirming the rename.


The towns, cities and roads listed are those given on road signs on the motorway as the junction is approached. Throughout we use northbound and southbound although the motorway is closer to running east-west at its beginning.

Junctions on the M6 motorway
No.Exits to : Northbound Exits to : Southbound
1Rugby, Lutterworth, A426Rugby, A426
2Coventry, Leicester, A46, M69, (M1) Coventry(E), Leicester, A46, M69
3Bedworth, Coventry(N), Nuneaton, A444 Bedworth, Coventry(N), Nuneaton, A444
4M6 Toll, Coventry(S&W), NEC, Birmingham Airport, A446 The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham(S), Solihull, Birmingham Airport, NEC, Lichfield, M42, A446
4aThe NORTH, The SOUTH, M42, (M1), (M40)No exit
5No exit Birmingham(E), Solihull, A452
6Birmingham(E,Cen & NE), Lichfield, A38 Birmingham(Cen&NE), A38
7Birmingham(N), A34 Birmingham(N), Walsall, A34
8The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham(S&W), West Bromwich, M5 The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham(S&W), West Bromwich, M5
9Wednesbury A461Wednesbury A461
10Walsall A454 Walsall, Wolverhampton(Cen&E) A454
10aNo exit NORTH & MID WALES, Wolverhampton, Telford, M54
11Wolverhampton A460 Cannock, A460
11aNo exitM6 Toll
12Cannock, Telford, Wolverhampton NORTH WALES, A5, (M54) Telford, A5
13Stafford(S), A449 Stafford
14Stafford(N), A34 Stafford(N), Stone, Eccleshall, A34
15Stoke-on-Trent, Stone, Eccleshall, A500 Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, A500
16Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent(N), Crewe, Nantwich, A500 Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe, Nantwich, A500
17Congleton, Sandbach, A534 Congleton, Sandbach, A534
18Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, A54 Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, Chester, Northwich, A54
19Northwich, Knutsford, Macclesfield, A556 Manchester & airport, Stockport, A556, (M56(E))
20NORTH WALES, Runcorn, Chester, Stockport, Manchester, Lymm, Macclesfield, M56, A50 NORTH WALES, Runcorn, Birkenhead, Lymm, Warrington, M56, A50
21Warrington, Irlam, A57 Warrington, Irlam, A57
21aManchester, Bolton, Leeds, Liverpool, M62 Manchester, Bolton, Leeds, Liverpool, Southport, M62
22Warrington, A49 Newton, Leigh, A49, A579
23Manchester, Liverpool, Newton, A580 St. Helens, Liverpool, Southport, A580
24St. Helens, Ashton, A58 No Exit
25 No Exit Wigan, A49
26 Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport, M58 Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport, M58
27 Wigan, Parbold, A5209 Parbold, Standish, Chorley, A5209
28 Leyland (A49) Leyland (A49)
29 Burnley, Blackburn, M65 Burnley, Blackburn, Preston(S), M65
30 Manchester, Bolton, Leeds, Blackburn, M61, (M62), (M65) No exit
31 Preston, Clitheroe, A59 Preston, Blackburn, Clitheroe, A59
31a No Exit Preston(E), Longridge, B6242
32 Blackpool, Preston, M55, (A6) Blackpool, Fleetwood, Preston(N), Garstang, M55
33 Garstang, Fleetwood, A6 Lancaster(S), A6
34 Lancaster, A683 Lancaster, Kirkby Lonsdale, Morecambe, Heysham, A683
35 Carnforth, Morecambe, A601(M) (A6) Carnforth, Morecambe, A601(M) (A6)
36 Kirkby Lonsdale, Skipton, Barrow, A65, A590 South Lakes, Kendal, Barrow, Kirkby Lonsdale, Skipton, A590, A65, (A591)
37 Kendal, Sedbergh, A684 Kendal, Sedbergh, A684
38 Kendal, Brough, A685 Brough, Appleby, A685, B6260
39 Shap, Kendal, (A6) Shap, (A6)
40 Penrith, Keswick, Brough, Scotch Corner, A66 North Lakes, Penrith, Keswick, A66
41 Wigton, B5305 Wigton, B5305
42 Carlisle, A6 Carlisle, A6
43 Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle upon Tyne, A69 Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle upon Tyne, A69
44 End of motorway Galashiels, Hawick, Carlisle(N), Glasgow, Edinburgh, A7, A74