Your guide to learning to drive in Cardiff
Choose the right driving instructor for you
The right instructor can make all the difference in your learning to drive journey, you want an instructor who:
- Encourages you
- Makes it fun to learn
- Won’t rip you off!
We recommend doing these 4 things:
1. Compare reviews
Look at review sites to see what learners are saying, it will help you get a feel for the type of instructor they are and help you find the right instructor for you.
2. Beware of terms and conditions
Going through the terms and conditions carefully is important so you don’t get taken by surprise by any policies. If you block book with certain schools in Cardiff but aren’t able to complete all your lessons, you won’t be refunded. It's always worth reading through the small print before committing to a large block of lessons.
3. Check that you can switch instructors
There are schools in Cardiff that might not be able to give you a different instructor if you're not enjoying your lessons or want to change for any reason. It's a good idea to check your driving school will allow you to change instructors free of charge if needed.
4. Avoid long waiting times
Don't pay for lessons until you know how soon a driving school can start your lessons. There are some driving schools in Cardiff that won’t show their waiting times until you’ve begun booking them online. This means you could be waiting for much longer than necessary to start driving.
Choosing between manual and automatic
Decide on whether you want manual or automatic driving lessons before you start learning to drive.
Firstly, a manual licence lets you drive both manual and automatic cars, so it's the better option if you want more choice.
Manual cars aren’t as expensive as automatics. They are cheaper to buy, to maintain and to get lessons for since they’re more widely available. Manuals also give you a better feeling of control.
Automatics, on the other hand, don’t have a clutch pedal. Without that, you can learn much quicker. For the same reason, automatics are also easier to drive in heavy traffic. Cardiff’s traffic congestion is among the worst in the UK, according to Wales Online, so an automatic here could be useful!
So there you go, the choice is yours!
Choosing your test centre
When you're ready, your instructor will help you to choose a test centre and start getting you used to the routes that could come up on your test. Here are the test centres in and near Cardiff:
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Barry Test Centre | Pass rate: 50.4%
You’ll find Barry Test Centre within the Business Support Centre. You may come across lots of roundabouts especially if you end up on Ffordd Mileniwm, where there will be 3 or 4.
Address: Unit 16, Business Support Centre, Hood Road, Innovation Quarter, The Waterfront
Cardiff Test Centre | Pass rate: 42.4%
Cardiff Test Centre will feature main roads and dual carriageways, like the A470, on your practical driving test. Its pass rate is slightly below the national average.
Address: Thornbury House, Unit 11 Lambourne Crescent, Cardiff Business Park, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF14 5GF
Llantrisant Test Centre | Pass rate: 55%
Llantrisant Test Centre has a pass rate that’s above the UK national average so it's a good choice if you’re much further North East of Cardiff.
Address: School Road, Miskin, Llantrisant, Mid Glamorgan, CF72 8YR
Check out the DVSA page to find your nearest Driving Test Centre.
Test tips from Cardiff instructors
1. Avoid rush hours
Traffic in Barry, Cardiff and Llantrisant is especially busy in the morning from 8 am to 10 am and in the evening from 4 pm to 6 pm. Book your test outside these times for a calmer test.
2. Prepare for roundabouts
If you go to Cardiff on your test, you will find lots of roundabouts like those on Llantrisant Road and Danescourt Way. Watch your lane positioning on these and check your mirrors for surrounding cars.
3. Take a driving lesson beforehand
It’s always a good idea to take a driving lesson on the day of your test. You can go over the roads around your test centre, or get in some last-minute manoeuvre practice. Plus, you’ll be getting yourself adjusted to the day’s driving conditions.
Driving lessons in Cardiff
Instructors are all across Cardiff, here are the most popular areas:
Butetown, Cardiff Bay, Cathays, Cyncoed, Grangetown, Pentwyn, Plasnewydd, Portlanna, Splott and Thornhill.
Enter your postcode to check lesson pricing in your local area.