Find the best driving instructor near you
This brief guide will show you how to find a driving instructor you can trust
In short, if you want to pass first time without breaking the bank, you’ll love this guide.
How to find a driving instructor you can trust
You deserve an instructor who:
- Builds your confidence
- Makes learning enjoyable
- Won't cost the earth
You should be able to book driving lessons with confidence that you’re making the right choice.
Just enter your postcode above to find an instructor you can trust.
How many lessons do you really need?
We know the feeling: the DVSA says the average learner takes 45 hours of lessons before passing the driving test. But that seems like a lot. Do you really need that many?
Here’s the secret to passing faster:
Choose an instructor with a track record for helping learners to pass fast
Get yourself insured so you can put in some practice between lessons with a friend or family member
How to make a saving on the cost of lessons
If you take the average number of lessons (47) and multiply it by the cost of the average lesson (£24), you’ll see that the total cost of lessons is around £1,128.
Who knows what you could buy with that amount of money. A TV? A better bed? You don’t want to spend that much just to book driving lessons, and we don’t want you to either!
Should I take manual or automatic driving lessons?
Choosing between manual and automatic driving lessons is a must before you book a lesson package. They both have pros and cons and your decision may be influenced by the types of driving you do regularly. For example, automatics make it easier to drive in stop-start traffic, which makes them particularly popular in large cities like London. On the other hand, manual cars give you a greater sense of control which can come in handy when you're travelling longer distances.
It's not quite that simple though when it comes to choosing between the two. Before you book driving lessons, make sure you weigh up both options.
- Cheaper lessons and cars
- Qualifies you to drive both manuals and automatics
- Gives you that little bit more control
- Easier and faster to learn
- No risk of stalling
- More pleasant in heavy traffic
How to book driving lessons in London
To book driving lessons in London, get started by entering your postcode. Then, choose your instructor and choose a package, it's that easy.
Tips for learning to drive in London
Master driving in the capital and you can enjoy driving anywhere
1. Don’t let the traffic put you off
London’s heavy traffic might seem daunting, but it means the average speed here is really slow. So the plus side is you’ll have a little bit more time to prepare for upcoming hazards.
2. Avoid the Congestion Charge
This is a fee you have to pay if you’re travelling through the centre of London at certain times of day. The charge doesn’t apply in the evenings and at weekends, so these are the best times to practise in the Congestion Charge zone. If you do want to practise during restricted times, the daily charge is £11.50 if you pay in advance or on the day you travel, or £14 if you pay the next charging day. Read more about how to pay from Transport for London.
3. Take a motorway driving lesson
Consider asking your instructor for a motorway lesson. You won’t get assessed on motorways in your test, but you’re likely to use them lots when you pass - the M1 and M11 are common routes out of the city, and the M25 is handy for travelling from one side of London to the other.
4. Pick a local driving test centre
You’ll be much more confident in your driving test if you’re familiar with the roads you’re driving on, so if you can take your test locally then that’s always a good move.
Choosing your test centre
When the time’s right, your instructor will help you to choose a test centre and introduce you to the areas that could come up in your test.
There are lots of driving test centres in London, but you're best off choosing one close to your local area - you're likely perform better on roads that you're familiar with.
Test centre pass rates
DVSA practical car test pass rates, 2018-2019.
Barking (Tanner Street): 84 Tanner Street, Barking, Essex, Greater London, IG11 8QF
Barking (Town Quay): Unit 9 Town Quay Wharf, Barking, Essex, Greater London, IG11 7BZ
Chingford: Doric House, 128 Station Road, Chingford, Greater London, E4 6AD
Goodmayes: 98 Goodmayes Road, Ilford, Greater London, IG3 9UZ
Wanstead: 2 Devon House, Hermon Hill, Wanstead, Greater London, E11 2AW
Barnet: Raydean House, 15 - 17 Western Parade, Barnet, Greater London, EN5 1AD
Enfield: Solar Way, Innova Park Business Centre, Enfield, Greater London, EN3 7XY
Tottenham: Tottenham Annex Building, Selby Centre, Selby Road, Tottenham, Greater London, N17 8JL
Wood Green: The Gatehouse, Woodhall House, Lordship Lane, Wood Green, Greater London, N22 5JW
North West London
Hendon: 3 Aviation Drive, Beaufort Park, Hendon, Greater London, NW9 5TZ
Mill Hill: Unit 9, Grannard Business Centre, Bunns Lane, Mill Hill, Greater London, NW7 2DQ
South East London
Croydon: 111 Canterbury Road, Croydon, Greater London, CR0 3HH
Hither Green: 42-44 Ennersdale Road, Hither Green, Greater London, SE13 6JD
South West London
Ashford: 18/19 Fir Tree Place, Church Road, Ashford, Greater London, TW15 2PJ
Morden: 10 Tudor Drive, Morden, London, Surrey, SM4 4PE
Tolworth: Douglas House, 1B Douglas Road, Tolworth, Greater London, KT6 7R
Isleworth: Worton Hall, Worton Road, Isleworth, Greater London, TW7 6ER
Southall: 295 Allenby Road, Southall, Greater London, UB1 2HD
Take a look at the DVSA website to find your closest, or browse our list of test centres by area.
Booking your driving test
Ready to book your driving test? Book online with the DVSA or call them on 0300 200 1122.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your test, you’ll just need to give three working days’ notice. That way, you can get a full refund or reschedule at no extra cost.
If you’re not sure if you’re ready to book your test, just ask your instructor and they’ll be able to help.
How much does the driving test cost?
We know you want your freedom. It does cost, but it’s so worth it.
The practical driving test costs £62 on weekdays before 4.30 pm, or £75 during the evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
You’ll also need to pay for the use of your instructor’s car, and most instructors also encourage you to take a lesson right before your test.
Where you can learn to drive in London
Some of the popular areas include:
Acton, Barking, Barnet, Brixton, Bromley, Camden, Canary Wharf, Clapham, Croydon, Dagenham, Ealing, Edgware, Enfield, Finsbury Park, Greenwich, Hackney, Hampstead, Harrow, Hayes, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston upon Thames, Lewisham, Putney, Romford, Southall, Stratford, Streatham, Sutton, Tottenham, Twickenham, Uxbridge, Walthamstow, Wandsworth, Watford, Wembley and Wimbledon.
We also offer lessons across the UK. Just enter your postcode to see driving lesson pricing near you.
Follow these steps to get a driving licence in London:
- Apply for a provisional licence
- Book driving lessons
- Book your theory test
- Practice between lessons if you have access to a car
- Book your practical test
The first step to start driving in the UK is to apply for a provisional licence - without this, you won’t be able to start lessons or book a theory or practical driving test.
The average learner in the UK takes 47 hours of lessons to pass their driving test, and the DVSA recommends 22 hours of private practice on top of that. However, London roads are busy and London drivers can be particularly aggressive. So, driving test pass rates are usually lower in London than they are in rural areas.
That said, if you’re wondering how fast you can learn to drive, Midrive learners take an average of just 30 hours of lessons before passing the practical driving test. Thanks to the help of the free driving and theory app and experienced driving instructors, it doesn’t have to take long to learn how to drive.
The average driving lesson price per hour in the UK is £24. But how much it costs to learn to drive will vary based on a number of factors including:
- Where you live
- What your instructor charges
- Whether you take manual or automatic driving lessons
In London, prices can fall anywhere between £20 and £32 per hour for manual driving lessons, depending on what your instructor charges and where you take lessons. These variances can even happen between locations that are only a couple of streets away from one another. You’re also likely to find cheaper driving lessons outside of the Congestion Charge zone than you are inside it. That’s because entering the Congestion Charge zone could be an added cost for your driving instructor.
To find lesson prices in your area of London, enter your postcode.
If you take your theory test before starting driving lessons, you’ll be at an advantage in that you’ll be familiar with the Highway Code already. That means you’ll already know most of the rules of the road.
However, if you take driving lessons before your theory test, you might find it easier to prepare for your theory. Your experience driving in lessons could make it easier to revise for your theory test. Neither way is right or wrong - the choice is yours.
There’s a large choice of driving instructors in London, so it’s important to choose a driving instructor who suits you. The best way to find a good driving instructor is to ask friends and family for recommendations. If you know somebody who enjoyed learning with a certain instructor, the chances are you’ll enjoy learning with them too. If you don’t have anyone who can give you a word of mouth recommendation, read reviews on trusted review sites like Trustpilot, or look at Google Reviews.
Alternatively, book driving lessons with Midrive and we’ll match you with an instructor who’s been recommended by other learners like you - let us do the hard work for you!
There were 39,710 approved driving instructors on the DVSA’s register in 2018-2019. There is a high concentration of driving instructors in London because there is a lot of work available in built-up areas.
To become a fully-qualified driving instructor, individuals need to pass a three-part exam. This is made up of a theory test, a driving ability test and an instructional ability test. This means that before qualifying, every instructor is tested on their knowledge of the road, their driving ability and how good they are at teaching driving. It usually takes at least 6 months to become an Approved Driving Instructor.
Some driving schools match learners with instructors who are still in training and haven’t yet completed the third part of their exam (the test that covers instructional ability). At Midrive however, all learners are matched with a fully-qualified, Approved Driving Instructor. This means you can be sure your instructor has all the training and experience they need to help you pass your driving test first time.
There’s no law about how many driving lessons you need before taking your practical driving test. In fact, you don’t have to have driving lessons to take your practical driving test at all. You can instead choose to learn with a friend or family member, as long as they are legally allowed to be your supervising driver.
There’s no limit to the number of driving lessons you’re allowed per week, provided your driving instructor has enough availability. Some driving schools even offer intensive driving courses which are full-time. However, taking regular driving lessons once or twice a week will allow you to build up driving experience in different road and weather conditions, giving you the best chance of passing your driving test first time and becoming a safe and confident driver in the long run.
The UK first-time pass rate for 2018-19 was 46.6%. This is slightly higher than at the majority of London test centres - here is a selection of first-time pass rates in London by test centre:
- Barking (Tanner Street): 33%
- Barnet: 34.1%
- Chingford: 38.6%
- Croydon: 41.5
- Goodmayes: 36.5%
- Hendon: 41.7%
- Hither Green: 49.9%
- Isleworth: 43.4%
- Mill Hill: 43.8%
- Morden: 48.5%
- Southall: 40.1%
- Tolworth: 51.3%
- Tottenham: 38.1%
- Wanstead: 36.4%
- Wood Green: 39.2%
If you’re taking a standard UK driving test, you’ll drive for around 40 minutes. Around 20 minutes of this time will be independent driving, where you’ll either be asked to follow directions from a Sat Nav or from traffic signs.
In most cases, you can’t learn to drive at 16. Legally, you need to be 17 before you take driving lessons on public roads. That said, you can apply for your provisional licence from the age of 15 years and 9 months.
If you receive or have applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment, you may be able to drive a car at the age of 16. Find out more on the DVSA website.
In order to learn to drive in the UK, you need to:
- Be the correct driving age (for most people, this is 17)
- Have a provisional driving licence (you won’t be able to apply for one of these until you’re aged 15 years and 9 months)
- Be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away (you can wear glasses or contact lenses if necessary)
To apply for a provisional licence, you simply need an identity document (unless you have a valid UK biometric passport), addresses where you’ve lived over the last 3 years and your National Insurance number (if you know it). To apply, head over to the DVSA website.
If you’re insured, you can have driving lessons in your own car provided your driving instructor is happy with this arrangement. However, unless you have a strong reason to do driving lessons in your own car, it’s best to learn in your driving instructor’s car.
Driving instructors’ cars are dual controlled to keep you safe, and tend to be an appropriate size for beginners. On top of this, your instructor will arrange the insurance for their car, so you won’t need to worry about insurance for your lessons.
If you're only learning with a driving instructor, then you won't need to worry about learner insurance. The instructor will cover that, and it’s included in the price of your lesson.
That said, if you're going to be practising outside of lessons with a friend or family member, you'll need insurance. Private practice helps you to hone your skills between lessons and get test-ready faster - so we'd definitely recommend it. In fact, the DVSA recommends 22 hours of private practice before taking the practical test.
Find out more about how learner driver insurance could help you pass your test faster. Or, if you're looking for a longer term insurance option, check out how taking out a hybrid insurance policy while you learn may be able to save you money.
Refresher driving lessons are designed for those with prior experience of driving. They’re tailored especially for each learner, which means you can work on whatever skills you feel you want support with - no matter how general or specific. For instance, they could be useful if you’re returning to driving after a break, are new to driving in the UK, lack confidence or just want to sharpen up. Usually, these lessons are offered as a refresher course of five to ten hours.
Pass Plus is a course without a test, aimed at expanding a new driver’s experience and skill set. It takes a minimum of six hours and is suggested for just after you’ve passed. It covers challenges such as night time driving, town driving, all weather driving and motorway driving.
Whilst you can drive at night as a learner driver and access the motorway (so long as you are with a qualified instructor in a dual control car), it’s rare these things are covered in normal lessons.
With Pass Plus the instructor will be able to share a wealth of knowledge that simply wouldn’t come up under the normal driving curriculum.