Learning to drive can be a daunting and expensive challenge. However, it’s a valuable life skill everyone should at least try at some point in their lives. Just like going to university, driving lessons are an investment in yourself and your future, and passing your driving test can make your transportation a whole lot easier, meaning you’ll never have to complain about public transport again.
Yes, they can be expensive, but knowing the costs and preparing for them can make the process a lot easier on you and your wallet.
Here at Bill Plant Driving School, we’ve decided to break down the costs of learning to drive. We’ve looked at the average amount driving instructors charge for lessons in different areas of the UK, some of the forgotten costs, as well as tips on how to save money when preparing to start your lessons.
The best way you can save money on the overall cost of learning to drive is through cost-effective lessons. That’s why we’ve decided to reveal the places in the UK that are spending the least amount of money on driving lessons.
1 – Swansea – £23.50 per driving lesson
The residents of Swansea are paying the least for driving lessons, at just £23.50 per 1-hour lesson. It’s estimated that you need 44 hours of driving lessons in order to pass your driving test. Therefore you could pay a little over £1,000 in Swansea for driving lessons. Based on the 44-hour estimate, the Welsh city is almost £200 cheaper in total than any other city.
2 – Bristol – £28 per driving lesson
Bristol takes second place in our list of the cheapest places in the UK to learn to drive, with £28 being the average cost for a 1-hour lesson. Based on the 44-hour estimate of time needed to pass your test, the total cost for driving lessons in Bristol could come up to £1,232.
3 – Aberdeen – £29 per driving lesson
Bradford completes our top three with £29 being the average cost for a 1-hour lesson, just £1 more than Bristol in second place. The average cost for a 1-hour lesson across the 20 cities in our list is £32.44, which means that driving lessons in Bradford are almost £3.50 cheaper than the average.
On average, learning to drive will cost you £32.05 per lesson in the UK. So we wanted to find out the cities that were driving that average cost up.
1 – Brighton and Hove – £40 per driving lesson
Brighton and Hove is the most expensive place to learn to drive, at £40 per lesson on average. Therefore, learning to drive in Brighton could cost you almost £1,760 based on the average number of lessons it takes to learn to drive.
2 – London – £38.25 per driving lesson
London is the second most expensive city to learn to drive, costing £38.25 per driving lesson on average. If it takes 44 hours of driving lessons to pass, then it will cost you just under £1,683 to pass your test in the capital.
3 – Nottingham – £35.50 per driving lesson
Nottingham is the third most expensive city to learn to drive with an average cost of £35.50 per lesson. Based on the 44-hour estimate of the time it takes to pass, it could cost you around £1,562 to bin those L plates in Nottingham.
Obviously, it’s the driving lessons which take up the majority of the cost when learning to drive. However, some expenses go under the radar when trying to estimate the amount it costs to learn. That’s why we’ve revealed those costs so that you don’t forget about them again.
1 – Test Car – £90 – £120 depending on hours required
Unless you have your own car which is suitable for test conditions, you will have to pay to use your instructor’s car. This means you’ll have to pay for a 1-hour lesson whilst you take your test, as well as time to drive to the test centre and back home. This could take up to three hours, costing you anywhere between £90 and £120, however, this will vary depending on your location.
2 – Practical Test – £62 on a weekday or £75 on a weekend
The most expensive of these forgotten costs is the practical test. Daunting, we know! However, the relief after passing will make it all worth it. After all the hours, and all the money spent, your practical test is your time to shine, and to prove that you are ready to drive. Booking your practical test for a weekday is the cheaper option, at just £62. However if you can only do it on an evening, weekend, or bank holiday, then this will cost you £75 and will be paid to the DVSA and not the driving school. Hopefully, you’ll only have to book it once!
3 – Provisional Licence – £34 online or £43 by post
The provisional licence is the first and arguably most crucial part of learning to drive. Without it, you will not be able to learn to drive, whether that be with your instructor or a family member. Ordering your provisional licence is generally a smart thing to invest in any way as it’s a good form of ID. It’s more convenient than your passport, and it will be cheaper to replace if you lose it. When ordering your provisional licence, make sure you order it online, as applying by post will cost you £43, £9 more than if you order it online. Like the driving test, this amount goes straight to the DVSA.
It’s also worth noting that once you pass your test, your licence will be upgraded at no extra cost!
4 – Theory Test – £23
The theory test is another crucial part of learning to drive. The theory test examines your knowledge of the highway code, as well as your ability to spot hazards on and around the road. It might sound intimidating, however, it just takes some practice. This will cost £23 to book and just like your practical test, you’ll hopefully only have to book it once.
5 – Learner Driver Insurance
Your driving instructor or school will cover this in the price of the driving lesson, however, if you want to learn outside of your lessons and gain some additional experience or confidence, then paying for learner driver insurance could be really valuable. This will allow you to learn with your parents, or an older sibling, to get some additional practice in. This can be expensive, particularly for a short-term policy, however, it can take people over four months to pass their test, so paying for learner insurance early will save you some money. The amount you pay will depend on the car you intend to learn in, but five months of learner insurance could cost you a little over £250. This might sound like a lot, but you can get a huge amount of practice in that time which will help you pass your test.
How to Cut Costs as a Learner Driver
We’ve already established that learning to drive is an expensive investment, so here are some tips for you to keep those costs as low as possible.
1 – Block book lessons
The lessons themselves are the most expensive part of learning to drive. As we established earlier, it’s estimated that you need 44 hours of lessons in order to pass your driving test. Therefore, paying for multiple lessons in one go is the best way to save some money. Here at Bill Plant Driving School, we offer discounts when you block-book your lessons.
2 – Practise outside your lessons
Learning to drive is not limited to your lessons. You can get learner insurance which will allow you to drive with a passenger over the age of 25, and with a minimum of three years of driving experience. This would make a parent or an older sibling eligible to teach you to drive outside of lessons. Of course, learner insurance will cost money, however, many companies offer this on a monthly basis, which means you’re free to practise as much as you like during that month. The more practice you get, the higher the chance you pass the first time, and passing the first time will save you a lot of money.
Taking out provisional driver’s insurance can also allow you to start building up your no-claim bonus before you’ve passed your test. This can save you a bit of money after you pass, and make your premiums cheaper each year.
3 – Use online resources
There are a number of online resources which can help you pass your test. As well as the theory test app, YouTube is a great resource which can help you pass the first time. For each test centre, there are multiple different test routes that your examiner can take you on, and depending on how many lessons you have, you may be unable to cover each one. On YouTube, you can find each of these test routes and familiarise yourself with them before your test. On YouTube, you can also find other learner drivers doing mock tests. This is a great way to see some of the common mistakes people make when taking their test, so you know what to avoid and what to focus on when you do your test.
4 – Intensive Driving Courses
Intensive driving courses are the quickest way of passing your driving test, however, they can be difficult financially. Although an intensive course won’t differ too much in terms of the overall cost, it will come in one payment which can make it harder to fund. However, intensive courses can speed up the process which means you can experience the joys of driving sooner rather than later. A great option if you need to pass quickly.
We used data published by NimbleFins combined with internal data to find the cheapest locations to learn to drive.
We used our experts at Bill Plant Driving School to estimate the costs of learning to drive, as well as tips on cutting the costs.