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Kent Driving Test Centres

Map of Kent

Kent is home to everything from Canterbury Cathedral to the White Cliffs of Dover—not to mention 1.8 million people. However, we’re not here to see the sights in this trip to the Garden of England. Instead, we’ll be taking a closer look at the practical test centres in Kent.

In this edition of our Essential Guide series, we’ll explore no fewer than eight different test centres. We’ll provide handy fact files including information on pass rates, directions and facilities, as well as providing a brief outline of each location. Dive in to find information about your closest test centre!


Test Centres

Ashford
Canterbury
Folkestone
Gillingham
Herne Bay
Maidstone
Sevenoaks
Tunbridge Wells

Ashford

Testcentrename street view image

ASHFORD FACT FILE
Address Ground Floor
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1PL

Parking? Yes
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? No information
2018/19 pass rate 45.1%

Right in the heart of the county, Ashford is the first stop on our Kent driving test centre rundown. The DVSA officially calls this test centre ‘Ashford (Kent)’, to distinguish it from the other Ashford 80 miles away in Surrey. So, we’ve warned you: don’t head to the wrong one!

Thankfully for those living in the area, the Ashford driving test centre is very easy to find. Smack bang in the middle of town, it actually shares its location with the local borough council. As such, it’s easily accessible not only by car, but also by public transport. With Ashford International a stone’s throw away, you could even come here straight off the Eurostar!

Sticking to four-wheeled transport, though, it’s time to look at what could appear on your test here. Though the DVSA don’t publish exact routes, it’s virtually a given that major A roads such as the A2042 will form part of your drive. A tricky spot likely to appear on your test is the Lacton Interchange, where the A2070 meets the M20. Don’t worry, though—motorway driving won’t feature on your test! You will, however, have to navigate this crowded junction safely.

You’ll need a thorough knowledge of the Ashford area, as virtually any neighbourhood here can appear on your test. Whether you’re travelling north towards Kennington, east to Willesborough or south to Kingsnorth, you’re sure to find a wide variety of road types to challenge you during your drive.


Canterbury

Canterbury street view image

CANTERBURY FACT FILE
Address 25 New Dover Road
Canterbury
Kent
CT1 3AS

Parking? Limited
Toilets? Yes; unisex
Disabled access? You cannot get into the test centre in a wheelchair
2018/19 pass rate 46.8%

Next, we drive just up the A28 to reach Canterbury. This test centre is, naturally, in an ideal location for those living in the city itself. Meanwhile, it’s also the closest option for those living in parts of Swale, such as Faversham. If you’re arriving by public transport, you’ll be happy to learn that the Canterbury East train station is nearby.

Starting close to the city centre, test routes here are likely to incorporate some nearby busy roundabouts. Once you’ve left the immediate vicinity of the Canterbury test centre, it’s likely your route will take you along one of the major A roads that traverse the city—either the A2 or A28.

In addition to the city of Canterbury itself, your test route may take in some of the nearby rural areas and villages, such as Bridge. Your challenge will be to navigate the differences between city and country driving as you travel through some of the leafier parts of Kent.


Folkestone

Folkestone street view image

FOLKESTONE FACT FILE
Address Palting House
Trinity Road
Folkestone
Kent
CT20 2RH

Parking? Limited
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? This centre has no wheelchair access
2018/19 pass rate 44.2%

For our next test centre, we travel to the Folkestone area for our first trip to the Kentish coast. You’ll start your test here amidst fairly imposing surrounds—being right next to a major police station may not quite help settle the nerves! The location is, however, very convenient, lying just a few minutes from Folkestone Central train station. Interestingly, this is also the test centre of choice for those in the Dover area, which doesn’t have a test centre of its own.

Routes starting from the Folkestone test centre will commonly cross over the M20 flyover to reach the A20. Getting to this stage means traversing the daunting Castle Hill Interchange, which links the area to Dover and Ashford. Some drivers may even find themselves at the roundabout lying close to the Channel Tunnel entrance.

Not every test will follow this more northerly route, though. Some will instead hug the shoreline closer to Hythe in the west and Capel-le-Ferne in the east. Though you’re unlikely to come across any truly rural sections of road on your drive here, you will see a difference between major A and B roads heading out of the town centre and tighter residential streets.


Gillingham

Gillingham street view image

GILLINGHAM FACT FILE
Address Unit 1
Astra Park
Courteney Road
Gillingham
Kent
ME8 0RZ

Parking? Yes
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? No information
2018/19 pass rate 47.3%

We jump from one side of the county to the other as we arrive in Gillingham. The obvious choice for those living in the Medway Towns, the Gillingham test centre also serves a broader area of northwestern Kent, including Gravesend.

Unlike some other test centres in Kent, you’ll need to head to the outskirts of town when taking your test here. In fact, the test centre lies between Gillingham itself and Rainham. Meanwhile, its convenient position close to the A2 makes it easily accessible from areas such as Chatham and Rochester.

The test centre lies close to the major Bowaters Roundabout, which, being situated next to a supermarket and retail park, is prone to heavy traffic. Given the location of the test centre, you’re likely to find yourself in local residential areas such as Luton and Twydall, where your hazard perception skills will come in handy.


Herne Bay

Herne Bay street view image

HERNE BAY FACT FILE
Address Altria Business Park
Margate Road
Thanet Way
Herne Bay
Kent
CT6 6GZ

Parking? Yes
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? Arrangements will be made at this test centre if you have a disability
2018/19 pass rate 44.4%

To the north of the Canterbury area lies the Herne Bay test centre. As the only place to take your practical test in this part of coastal north Kent, it also serves the Thanet area, which lies just to the east. If you’re coming into the area from further afield, then your best option will be the Herne Bay train station.

As is common, you can find the Herne Bay test centre in a business park. Found to the south-east of the town centre, it’s easily accessible via the nearby A299. Anyone having trouble with different types of roundabout will need to brush up sharpish, as there’s no avoiding the Margate Road Interchange right next to the test centre itself!

Aside from this one particular tough spot, a whole variety of roads could appear on your test route. As the most prominent local A road, Thanet Way features on many routes. Elsewhere, you’re likely to come across a mix of residential and urban streets in the Herne Bay area, with some drivers even travelling right along the Central Parade!


Maidstone

Maidstone street view image

MAIDSTONE FACT FILE
Address Unit 1
North Court
South Park Business Village
Armstrong Road
Maidstone
Kent
ME15 6JZ

Parking? Limited
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? No information
2018/19 pass rate 44.4%

Our next stop is the largest town in Kent: Maidstone. The Maidstone practical test centre lies a little to the south of the town itself, at an 8-minute drive from the Maidstone West train station. You can find it in—you guessed it—a business park, albeit one with the slightly more genteel title of a ‘business village’.

Arriving at the test centre should be little trouble, given its close proximity to the A229. This same A road is a dead cert to make an appearance on your test itself, with many routes taking the road north through the town centre. This means you’ll need a good grasp of how to deal with urban traffic, which can often be slow and stop start. (Our clutch control tips will certainly come in handy here!)

Your test won’t necessarily be confined to the town itself, though, with routes extending out into the broader Maidstone area. In some of the more rural areas, you may even find routes going at the national speed limit. Just remember—on a single carriageway, this is 60 mph, not 70!


Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks street view image

SEVENOAKS FACT FILE
Address 45 Argyle Road
Sevenoaks
Kent
TN13 1HJ

Parking? No
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? Arrangements will be made at this test centre if you have a disability
2018/19 pass rate 50.8%

Heading further west, close to the county borders with Surrey and Greater London, we reach Sevenoaks. This test centre serves, naturally, Sevenoaks itself, but is also, to a lesser extent, a suitable option for learners in Dartford, whose other nearby centres are in East London.

Somewhat unusually, this test centre is found in a residential area. This means that, right from the off, learners will need to be conscious of pedestrians and cyclists. There are also a number of parking spaces along the street, meaning that you may have to perform a parallel park nearby.

Located close to some of the more rural parts of the county, you may easily find yourself in some of the areas of countryside lying close to the town. In places, you may come across roads where it’s only possible for one car to pass at a time, testing your knowledge of priority and ability to deal safely with other road users.


Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells street view image

TUNBRIDGE WELLS FACT FILE
Address 8 Upper Grosvenor Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN1 2ES

Parking? Limited
Toilets? Yes; male and female
Disabled access? No information
2018/19 pass rate 47.7%

Our final entry on the list is the town of Tunbridge Wells. In stark contrast to the out-of-town options in most areas, the Tunbridge Wells practical test centre is decidedly central. In fact, you’re only a two-minute walk from one of the town’s biggest shopping centres!

This is no time for retail therapy, though: we’ve got test routes to explore! Starting right in the heart of town, it should come as no surprise to learn that you’ll need to be adept at navigating busy traffic here. We’re not just talking about other cars, but all sorts of road users, from cyclists and disabled people’s vehicles through to buses.

You’re likely to see busy conditions at times on the A26 which runs north–south through the town, with queues sometimes forming near to junctions and mini roundabouts. Some routes do, however, explore patches of countryside in the Tunbridge Wells area. Here, a bigger issue may be ensuring that you keep your speed down to cope with narrow, winding lanes.


That completes our essential guide to Kent’s driving test centres! For information on other parts of the country, follow the links below.

By Andy Boardman

Andy fell in love with driving while road tripping around Iceland. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.

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