Best places to learn to drive in the UK

Motoring 2020-8-18
Best Places To Learn To Drive In The UK

Our recent study has calculated the overall cost of learning to drive in the UK, from practical lessons to essential paperwork, as well as the test centres where learner drivers are most likely to pass first time.

Learner drivers are back on the road again with practical tests starting again from 17th August 2020 after the pandemic caused driving lessons, and all tests and to be suspended.

According to the DVSA, around 210,000 practical tests were cancelled back in the spring which has now created quite a big backlog of students trying to rebook.

With driving lessons costing anywhere between £24 and £30 an hour and students being advised to have a minimum of 47 hours experience under their belt before booking their practical test. We calculated the overall cost of learning to drive in the UK, from practical lessons to essential paperwork, as well as the test centres where learner drivers are most likely to pass first time round.

 * Stats correct as of June 2020

Learning to drive is a goal that many young people look forward to as soon as they turn 17, but it can be extremely costly. New data reveals learners spend £1,676 before their first lesson!

Starting with the costs of practical lessons, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has said that the average learner who passed their test took on average 47 hours of lessons. However, the total cost for these lessons can vary dramatically depending on where you live:


Average cost per one hour lesson

Total cost for 47 lessons

South West



Yorkshire & Humber






North East



East of England



North West



South East












On top of these 47 lessons, learner drivers are expected to also fork out for a whole host of other costs, including a provisional license, theory test and practical test. Then to finally hit the road, new drivers also need to shell out for insurance once they have passed their test, meaning the average learner spends at least a whopping £1,676 before they can legally get behind the wheel.

And these are just the immediate compulsory costs, as successful learners may also need to consider the cost of buying or leasing a vehicle if they don’t already have access to a car, fuel costs, breakdown cover, MOT and tax!

Delving into the test centres where learners have the best chance of passing first time, Mallaig in Scotland has the highest first-time pass rate (93%) meaning for every 1.08 tests taken, one is passed. And the Isle of Skye has the worst first-time pass rate (27%) where, for every 3.7 tests taken, only one is passed.

Combining the total costs with the likelihood of passing first time by test centre, the most expensive locations to learn to drive are: 

  • Belvedere and Erith (London) - £3,311 (32% pass rate)
  • Barking - £3,311 (33% pass rate)
  • Birmingham (South Yardley) - £3,264 (32% pass rate)
  • Leicester (Cannock Street) - £3,264 (33% pass rate)
  • Barnet - £3,236 (34% pass rate)

And the cheapest locations to learn to drive are:

  • Weston-super-Mare - £2,879 (65% pass rate)
  • Yeovil - £2,879 (63% pass rate)
  • Salisbury - £2,879 (59% pass rate)
  • Poole - £2,879 (57% pass rate)
  • Taunton - £2,879 (54% pass rate)

It also seems age and gender can have an impact on your likelihood to pass first-time. Interestingly, 17 is the best age to pass for both men (56% pass rate) and women (53% pass rate).

For female learner drivers, the worst age to pass based on the lowest first-time pass rate is 60 years old and for male drivers, it’s between 51 and 57 years of age, indicating that if hopeful drivers want to keep down the costs, they should get out on the roads as soon as they can. 

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If you’re looking to get your hands on a new car or upgrade your old motor, make sure to check out our low-cost car loans starting from just 3.5% APR Representative between £5,000 and £25,000.

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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