Top driving experiences for petrolheads

Hands-on driving experiences are the perfect gift for car fans and petrolheads.

driving a classic racing car on a track

by Chris Williams |

If you wish to please a car fan with a relevant gift, my advice to you is steer clear of the branded merchandise. In terms of items, have a look at our guide to gifts for petrolheads, but if you want the crème de la crème of motoring gifts, a driving experience tops the rankings.

A driving experience provides a unique opportunity for a motoring fan to directly indulge in their passion. A keen gardener you’d gift a hoe, a keen cook you’d gift a recipe book or wok, a petrolhead you’d gift a driving experience.

And the good news is that there is an extraordinarily wide range of driving experiences available all over the UK, from supercar drives to rallying to tank driving. And below, you will find a selection of some of the best of these.

What about Covid?

While all the providers below provide extensions and/or refunds for Covid-related disruptions, it still remains entirely your responsibility to check any restrictions because things are subject to change at short notice in the current climate. It’s also crucial for you to make yourself familiar with providers’ cancellation and rescheduling policies and all that jazz.

Top driving experiences

Ultimate Driving Voucher

Ultimate Driving Voucher
Amazon

View offer

While you may be sure that a driving experience is what you want to be a gift, exactly which driving experience can be the tricky part. The Ultimate Driving Voucher addresses this issue by offering a remarkable 450 activities to choose from all over the UK, from driving single-seater racers to film cars to tanks to supercars to diggers. Itu2019s valid for 24 months.

Driving Dreams Voucher

Driving Dreams Voucher
Amazon

View offer

This is simply a concise version like a pocket dictionary. Half the price and with 250 activities to choose from and also valid for 24 months.

Double Diamond Supercar Driving Thrill

Double Diamond Supercar Driving Thrill

View offer

Driving supercars is a fairly safe bet for a driving experience. No petrolhead is going to object to the opportunity to drive a Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren 720S and Ferrari 488. The participant can choose two of these three supercars to drive a distance of six miles each. The minimum age is 17 and must hold a full license, valid for 18 months and offered with a Risk-Free Guarantee.

Five Supercar Thrill Drive

Five Supercar Thrill Drive

View offer

While the supercar driving experience above is fantastic, the only drawback of it is that the driving distance is quite short. This supercar driving experience throws five supercars into the mix, thus pushing the total driving distance up to 30 miles. This voucher is valid for 12 months with Virgin Experience Days offering COVID-19-related extensions when needed. Available most of the year, between February and November and currently sitting at a substantial discount.

Best of British Driving Experience

Best of British Driving Experience

View offer

While most of us adore classic British cars, almost none of us can quite bring ourselves to buy one because the perception is theyu2019re more trouble than theyu2019re worth. The Best of British drive lets you choose from an Aston Martin Vantage, Aston Martin DB5, Jaguar E-Type, Ford Escort RS, Mini Cooper, or Lotus Cortina. The voucher is valid for 12 months from purchase and Virgin Experience Days offers extensions for Covid-19 restrictions and exchanges too. Minimum age is 17.

Half Day Rage Motorsport Dirt Buggy Experience

Half Day Rage Motorsport Dirt Buggy Experience

View offer

Hardcore off-road buggies are every bit as quick as supercars, with a less refined edge to really add to the excitement. The buggy on offer in this driving experience is the Rage Hurricane, which has 140bhp and does 0-60mph in four seconds. During this drive, the participant will be tutored by a professional, in order to drive the Rage at proper race speed and learn driving techniques, including the famous Scandinavian flick. Minimum age is 11, valid for 18 months and offered with a Risk-Free Guarantee.

Half Day Gloucestershire Rally Driving Experience

Half Day Gloucestershire Rally Driving Experience

View offer

Continuing with the off-road theme is a half-day drive in a rally car. So often, driving experiences donu2019t last long enough, or a petrolhead is more of a rally fan. This experience kills both those birds in one fell swoop. Like the Rage buggy driving, the participant spends time with a professional, learning rally driving techniques. Minimum age is 17 and must hold a full license, valid for 18 months and offered with a Risk-Free Guarantee.

Triple American Muscle Car Blast

Triple American Muscle Car Blast

View offer

The car fan youu2019re buying for may well be an avid muscle car enthusiast, in which case driving a trio of either modern or classic V8 brutes. There are many locations available around the UK, though car selection varies depending on location. The voucher is valid for 12 months from purchase and Virgin Experience Days offers extensions for Covid-19 restrictions and exchanges too. Minimum age is 17.

Full Day Hertfordshire Drifting Experience

Full Day Hertfordshire Drifting Experience

View offer

Like football, drifting is one of those sports that people donu2019t necessarily enjoy watching but taking part is great fun. On offer here is a full dayu2019s worth of drifting, honing skills with the guidance of a professional tutor. Participants drive a Mazda MX-5 but can upgrade to a Nissan 350Z. The minimum age is 17 and must hold a full license, valid for 18 months and offered with a Risk-Free Guarantee.

Half Day Off-road Driving Experience at Rockingham Castle

Half Day Off-road Driving Experience at Rockingham Castle

View offer

Off-roading provides a different sort of excitement to high-speed circuit driving. The feeling of negotiating a hostile terrain is hugely thrilling. This particular off-road drive takes place on a number of courses, including an abandoned quarry. Drivers will be with a professional tutor in order to enjoy the drive, rather than constantly be stuck. Minimum age is 17 and must hold a full license, valid for 18 months and offered with a Risk-Free Guarantee.

Tank Driving

Tank Driving

Buy now

Using military hardware out of a warzone provides a true feeling of invincibility that is impossible to replicate. The participant will be able to drive a couple of different vehicles that vary depending on the location. The minimum age is 17 or 18 depending on the location.

Paul Swift's Ultimate Stunt Driving Masterclass

Paul Swift's Ultimate Stunt Driving Masterclass

Buy now

Last but not least is a stunt driving session. Here, participants drive a selection of fast Fords through a range of challenges, such a timed slalom, J turns, drifting, and handbrake parallel parking. Available at two locations: Darlington and Silverstone. The minimum age is 17.

Read next:

The best Lego car sets to build

Best RC rock crawlers: mind-blowing mini off-roaders

The best car books

For verdicts, scoops, news and analysis from the team , delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to the CAR newsletter.

You can enjoy CAR in its traditional print format, or one of the swelling number of digital editions, optimised for Apple iPhones, Android devices, iPads, tablets and desktop computers.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us