What is the best places to retire? This question is closely related to ‘What should I do with my retirement?’ and even ‘When should I retire?’ It all depends on how you envision retirement. Do you plan to spend a lot of time with your family? Will, you suddenly turn into an ‘old person’ or will you remain ‘Me, but with more free time?
It’s true that as we age we can expect to slow down, but there isn’t an abrupt transition into someone who enjoys golf, bingo, or stately homes if those things don’t pique your interest today. Consider what you are enjoying at the moment, and then see if you could picture yourself in any of the places we have been. Many people have found these the perfect places to settle down – will you be one of them?
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Retirement places we recommend
1. Yorkshire Dales or North York Moors
Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK and (according to its inhabitants) the most beautiful as well. For those who prefer the country, its two national parks will meet their needs. There are no need to be Cathy or Heathcliff to enjoy the rolling hills and pretty villages, the rugged landscapes of the Moors, or the dramatic coastline – which includes the eerie ruins of Whitby Abbey, the fictional home of Dracula. The best place to enjoy both parks is somewhere in the middle, such as Ripon, Northallerton, or Darlington.
2. Peak District
Sheffield and Manchester are close to the Peak District, which is a haven for the best places to retire who need to see family in the city but are looking for a quieter lifestyle in a national park. Even though the area is called the Peak District, it actually contains more low rolling hills than the mountains of the Lake District, though there are still plenty of challenges for the energetic walker. If you prefer something more relaxed, there are countless charming little villages where you can base yourself, such as Bakewell (famous for its tarts), Hathersage and Castleton. The spa town of Buxton is just outside the national park if you are looking for more activities.
York, an ancient town that combines the best of both worlds, is hard to beat when it comes to sheer versatility. Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors are nearby. It has a lot of historic architecture. Its house prices are around the $300,000 mark, which is considerably cheaper than other celebrated UK cities, making it a great option for best places to retire.
The experience offered by York might appeal to you, but if you need to be closer to family, Bath might be a better option. With its Georgian architecture and Roman roots, it is a charming place for history lovers, but it is also close to the Cotswolds for lovely walks. The average price of a house in the area is over £500,000, which means you will pay more for it.
In cases where family and friends are spread across the country, it makes sense to choose somewhere central to the best places to retire. The county is on the expensive side, but you’re only two hours from Cambridge, Bristol, London, Birmingham, Nottingham, and the south coast for your money. In addition, Oxford and a variety of historic villages are close by for days out.
House prices in Lincolnshire are relatively low, at just under £200,000 on average, but the county is also relatively central. It’s actually the second-largest county in the UK, stretching all the way from Stamford to Grimsby. There are lots of quiet towns in between for a serene best places to retire. Several Lincolnshire locations are well within a two-hour drive of Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham, Leicester, and more.
As we move over to Wales, Cardiff is neatly positioned on the edge of South West England, so you can easily reach both from there. You can reach Swansea to the west and Bristol to the east in less than an hour from Cardiff. There is plenty to do in Cardiff, and it’s surrounded by gorgeous countrysides such as the Gower Peninsula, Brecon Beacons, and Wye Valley. The average house price is around the £250,000 mark, making it an affordable choice.
As one looks north to Scotland now, Glasgow may seem like a less obvious choice – but is better for it. Even though it is less expensive than the capital Edinburgh (house prices hover around £200,000), it has excellent connections to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, and beyond. Don’t be put off by gritty TV crime dramas – the real Glasgow is surrounded by stunning countryside and some lovely villages such as Bishopton, Bridge of Weir, Lochwinnoch, and Houston (no, not that one). It is also an impressive city in its own right. Golfers will find around 40 courses to keep them busy.
9. The Lake District
Lake District, one of the UK’s most famous national parks, is an adventure haven for retirees seeking plenty of time spent outdoors. Here you can get stuck in whether you enjoy walking, climbing, fell running, water sports like canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or even writing epic romantic poetry. Additionally, there are many stile-free routes accessible to the less mobile.
For golf enthusiasts, Fife is a great best places to retire location if you like fresh air, long walks, and hitting things with sticks. Also, the area is known for its beautiful scenery and is home to St Andrew’s, so you can enjoy walks and relaxing days out as well. It is just 50 minutes from Edinburgh and 30 minutes from Dundee, making it convenient for those who have family in Scotland as well.
North East houses are often the cheapest in the country. Durham could be a good choice for those who want to get the most value for their money when moving. House prices in the city are under £200,000, but you won’t need to compromise – this is one of England’s most beautiful cities. Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Darlington are just 15 minutes away by train, while Edinburgh is less than two hours away. The Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, and the coastline are also close by for day trips.
At number 20 we have a place you might not have considered, but which offers many of the attractions of the rest of the top 20 but at a fraction of the cost. In return for your money, you get plenty of amenities in the historic city, the nearby coastal town of Morecambe, and on your doorstep, the Forest of Bowland (a gorgeous part of the Yorkshire Dales). It is also just over an hour away from both Liverpool and Manchester, making it convenient for quick travel across the country.
Suffolk is a tiny county in the east of England that is known for its sleepy chocolate box villages, but it’s also known for its still-trendy seaside towns and pretty coastline, which are popular with artists thanks to the special quality of the light coming off the sea. It’s perfect for those looking for a quiet retirement that’s not boring, with Bury St Edmunds (the county’s central market town) and Ipswich nearby, as well as Cambridge a 45-minute drive away.
Many retired people in London have children or grandchildren living in or around the city. Essex could be a good choice for someone who needs to travel into London regularly. Although it may not seem like the obvious choice for a party county, it has many pretty villages, such as Castle Hedingham and Tillingham, while the estuary coast has its own charm. Central London can be reached by train in 30 minutes from various towns. The cost of living so close to each other isn’t cheap, with detached houses averaging over £500,000 on average.
Moreover, Sussex is close to London and has a lot of open countrysides to enjoy – such as the South Downs right on your doorstep. While you can enjoy the best of both worlds, you’ll pay a premium, with average house prices exceeding £375,000.
Brighton and its surrounding towns offer a great quality of life if you’ve always dreamed of retiring near the sea. You will find endless pebbled beaches for brisk walks along with many cafes and restaurants to choose from along the way. Brighton has never lost its trendy dynamism, so is a popular choice for those who feel young in spirit, in contrast to many ‘sleepy seaside towns’. London is also fairly close to the town, being only an hour away by train. Brighton’s house prices are relatively high, fetching around £450,000.
If you’re looking for a best places to retire that truly feels like a vacation, look no further than Dorset. With its warm, beautiful and sandy coastline, there are times of the year when it feels like you’re retiring in Australia without the hassle or costs associated with leaving family behind. You should be prepared to shop around for the best deal when it comes to buying a property.
The inland countryside and beaches of Devon make it another coastal favorite. The area has two coastlines, including Dartmoor and Exmoor, as well as two national parks. A few of the best coastal retirement towns include Torquay and Exeter, as well as hidden gems like Sidmouth and Beer (the source of most of Britain’s cathedral stone), which remain lively even after the summer season. The northern coast of the county is the cheaper, with house prices around £300,000.
You can enjoy South Devon’s charm at a fraction of the cost by moving to Plymouth, where average house prices are just over £200,000. You can find coastal views, harbourside restaurants, lots of parks and easy access to Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley for long walks for your money.
In the southwest of Wales, Pembrokeshire is another popular coastal best places to retire hotspot. In addition to being a national park, the coastline itself has stunning scenery. With an average price of just over £200,000, house prices here are much cheaper than elsewhere in the UK. St Davids and Tenby offer all the amenities you need.
Do you really want to retire?
It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning your later years to choose where you plan to best places to retire. Ensure your pension and other finances are in order before you make the big move, which can be a lengthy process. You should always discuss your options with a financial adviser before making any major decisions.