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How much do driving lessons cost?

Rebecca Goodman
Written by  Rebecca Goodman
Saarrah Mussa
Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
Updated: 20 Mar 2024

Driving lessons are one of the biggest expenses to get on the road. In this guide, we'll outline how much you can expect to pay for lessons and explain some of the other big expenses you may need to budget for.

Passing your test and being able to drive is a huge life experience and it gives you the freedom of being able to get behind the wheel on your own and drive anywhere you want to.

Yet before you start planning your first road trip, to get there you need to have driving lessons and these can be expensive. There are lots of ways to learn, from intensive short courses to weekly learning, and it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

In this guide we look at the price of driving lessons, what types of courses are available, what other costs are involved with passing your test, and how to keep costs to a minimum. 

How much does it cost to learn how to drive?  

In March 2024 our Spring Household Money Index found that getting a 17-20 year old on the road and driving for 12 months in the UK costs an average of £7,609.

Driving lessons are one of the greatest expenses that contribute to this huge spend, trumped only by the cost of the car itself and a year's worth of insurance.

Driving lesson costs vary depending on where you live and the instructor you choose. There are also other things to consider, such as if you want a short intensive course or if you’re happy having weekly lessons, and it’s important to compare prices of lessons, instead of just picking the first course you see.  

How much do driving lessons cost? 

The average cost for a one-hour driving lesson in the UK is between £25 and £30, according to the RAC.

On average it takes 45 hours for a driver to pass their test, but everyone is different. Some drivers might need a few extra lessons to feel confident enough to take their test or may need an extra session to refresh their memory if they pause their learning.

Our research found that in the first three months of 2024, the average cost of lessons needed to pass a driving test was around £1,690.59.

Buying lessons in bulk can be cheaper, Red Driving School for example offers a 12% discount for its 30-hour package. It’s also worth having a few lessons with an instructor before signing up to a package of lessons to be sure they’re right for you.  

Here are a few examples of lesson prices in London, although costs vary a lot across the country: 

Red Driving School offers numerous deals, such as a 20-hour package for £648, but a standard three hours is £108, so £36 each.  

Driving lessons with AA start at £75 for two hours, so £37.50 an hour while at BSM Driving School it’s £70 for two lessons, so £35 each.   

The lessons aren’t the only cost to factor in either, you’ll need to pay for things like your provisional driving licence and insurance too.  

Is one driving lesson a week enough? 

The more practice you can get before your driving test the better, but the number of lessons you book will depend on your budget and availability.  

If you’re able to, going out with a friend or family member to practice driving in-between your lessons can also help. If you are able to do this, make sure you’re following all the requirements such as having L-plates on the car and the right car insurance to cover you

Are two hour driving lessons better than one hour? 

You can choose your lesson length and this can be from an hour to a short intensive course over a few days. The best option for you will depend on your budget and how you like to learn.  

If you can afford to, a short course could be a quicker route to passing your test and being on the road. However, you may prefer to have lessons on a weekly basis and then spend time practicing with a friend or family member to build up your knowledge and confidence.  

What other costs are involved in obtaining a driving licence? 

There are several other costs involved with passing your driving test including the following:  

  • Provisional licence: this licence allows you to legally learn to drive on the public road and is a requirement for taking your practical test. It costs £34 if you apply online, or £43 if you apply by post. 

  • Theory test: your test costs £23 and you’ll also need learning materials which cover everything you’ll need to know. The official book costs around £14 (or you could always borrow a copy from someone who has already passed). There’s also a DVSA app which is £4.99 a month and includes all the resources you need for the test. Overall, our research found that the average cost of theory and driving tests

  • Insurance: if you’re taking lessons with a qualified instructor, their car will be covered so you won’t need extra insurance but if you are having extra lessons with a friend or family member, you need to ensure you are covered to drive their car. You can be added as a named driver to their policy, buy short term or temporary insurance, or you can buy specific learner driver insurance. It’s worth comparing the costs of each option before you decide and when you’ve passed you’ll need to arrange new driver insurance too.   

  • Practical test: you’ll pay £62 for a test on a weekday or £75 if it’s at a weekend or on a bank holiday. Your driving instructor will tell you when they think you are ready to take your practical test.

  • MOT and tax: if you own your car and it’s more than three years old you’ll need to pay for its MOT once a year which will cost a maximum of £54.85 You’ll also need to pay road tax for it before you start driving which is £180 a year. You may want to keep some money aside to pay for repairs, such as those that may come up in the annual MOT, too.  

  • Fuel: the amount of fuel you use depends on how often you drive it. The average price for a litre of petrol is currently 149.13p, according to the RAC, and for diesel it’s 150.61p. 

There are many costs to consider when learning to drive and knowing exactly what you’ll need to pay for can help with budgeting.

While you may not pay for all the costs below, if it’s not your car for example you won’t have to pay the road tax, this table gives a rough idea of your overall bill. There are also ways to cut costs in some cases, such as with your car insurance, and this can help bring your overall spending down.  

Item

Average cost

Provisional licence 

£34 online (£43 if you apply by post) 

Driving lessons

£1,350 (45 hours)

Theory test

£23

DVSA book 

£16

DVSA app

£4.99

Practical test

£62 (£75 on a weekend of Bank holiday)

MOT

£54.85

Road tax

£180

Total

£1,724

Budgeting tip

When you're budgeting for these expenses it's also important to note that you might have to pay for some of these costs more than once.

A lot of people won't pass their driving tests on their first attempt, which means paying for retakes. Our March 2024 HMI found that the average cost of practical and theory tests when retakes are factored in is around £228.50.

For that reason, it's always a good idea to add a bit of wiggle-room to your budget in case things don't go exactly as planned.

Tips on reducing the cost of obtaining a driving licence: 

There are lots of ways to lower the cost of learning to drive, here are a few ideas to start with: 

  • Buy lessons in bulk: most driving schools offer discounts when you buy a bulk package or course. 

  • Introductory offers: you may be able to benefit from a lower cost for the first few lessons you take. 

  • Shop around: there are lots of driving schools to choose from so always compare the costs and look at private instructors too. 

  • Learning materials: borrow a theory test book from a friend or see if your local library has a copy. 

  • Private practice: if you have someone who can take you out in their car this can significantly reduce your costs as you won’t need to pay for as many official lessons – just make sure you are insured to drive the vehicle and you’re following all the rules when doing this.