What is the best place to retire in the UK? For many, retirement is the ultimate goal. Working five days a week, for 40 hours or more, over 30 to 40 years, can be a tiring thought.
But this action is justified by the realisation that one day, you can kick your feet up and relax.
With so many people dreaming of retirement, the question “what is the best place to retire in the UK?” keeps rising in popularity.
Well, it’s a difficult question to answer. After all, there are so many different factors that make a city or town appealing, and everyone has their own preferences on what they want out of retirement.
Maybe you want to relax surrounded by greenery. Maybe you want breath-taking coastal walks along a beach. Or perhaps you just want to be near a lovely pub for a liquid lunch.
Whatever your desires, we have compiled a list of the top 30 best places to retire in the UK.
If you are looking for information on the best places to live in the UK 2020, 2021 and beyond, you’ve come to the right place.
So, how to decide where to live in retirement UK?
We used a number of factors to evaluate areas when creating this list. These factors are based on what many experts believe constitutes the essential requirements of a top retirement area.
Using information from Profile Pensions and statistics from the Office for National Statistics, we have compiled this list of important factors that you should consider if you are asking how to decide where to live in retirement UK. They are:
- Average property prices
- Rental costs
- Access to healthcare
- Transport links
- Local amenities
Based on statistics from the ONS, out of the top 100 ageing local authorities, 85% of the areas are considered rural. This shows the popularity for older people to be surrounded by greenery, which is an important factor we have considered.
Also, you may find it odd that we have included rental costs as a factor too. Research from early 2020 found that the number of over 60s living in private rented accommodation increased by 60% from 2007. A third of over-60s are now predicted to be renting by 2040.
This is why we have to consider the rental market in all these areas.
But that’s enough of the methodology; it’s time to explore our entries on this list of great places to live in the UK.
Best Places to Retire 1-5
Average property price: £267,932
Average rent: £1,236 PCM
Starting off our list is York, undoubtedly a top candidate for the best place to live in UK if you are retired.
According to the BBC, the cathedral city was voted the best place to live in Britain in 2018, and it’s easy to see why.
York is overflowing with culture, with beautiful architecture, theatres, tasty restaurants, and more.
Property prices here are slightly above the UK average, but with such stunning views, low city centre traffic, and access to greenery, it’s hard not to consider this city a dream destination to settle down.
Average property price: £148,324
Average rent: £826 PCM
One of the most affordable locations on this list, Liverpool and Merseyside may not initially be the obvious choice for retirement.
However, thanks to billions of pounds worth of North West regeneration, the city is unrecognizable compared to a decade ago, with new shopping centres, restaurants, and so much more to see and do.
The affluent area of Formby to the north of the city seems like the obvious destination for retirees, with easy access to beautiful beaches and plenty of greenery.
Boasting two cathedrals and world-class transport links and amenities, Liverpool is a city steeped with culture and history and is filled with fantastic walking routes and cycling lanes.
It was also voted the safest place to live in 2021, making it fulfil all the criteria of a thriving retirement destination.
It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to retire and is also one of the cheapest places to retire UK wide, too.
If you are asking for the best place to retire or where to retire, then why not consider Liverpool?
Average property price: £200,514
Average rent: £1,136 PCM
Another major Northern city on this list, Manchester and the Greater Manchester area is a fantastic choice for retirees for similar reasons as Liverpool.
While the heart of the city centre may be more suited to young people, with one of the youngest populations in Europe, the outskirts of the city are filled with top rural destinations perfect for retirees.
Areas like Altrincham, Prestwich, and Didsbury are incredibly popular with access to fantastic green space.
There’s also a city-wide tram system, ensuring travelling to all the fantastic local amenities is as easy as possible.
With plenty of pubs, bars, and cultural spots to choose from, it would be remiss to not consider Manchester for your retirement.
Like Liverpool, Manchester regeneration has also transformed the city, making it one of the strongest economic powerhouses in the UK.
For cheap retirement in the UK, Manchester should be at the top of your list.
Average property price: £185,108
Average rent: £856 PCM
When you think of idyllic locations to switch off and settle down, Plymouth is likely right at the top of your list.
The beautiful port city in Devon has been the perfect location for retirees for some time, making it a strong contender for the best place to retire in Devon.
Devon was voted the third best retirement destination by specialists Hodge, and with cities like Plymouth, it’s clear why.
Offering breath-taking views of the sea, easy access to beaches, and just a short journey away from Dartmoor National Park, the city offers a complete package you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
Coupling this with excellent shopping opportunities and delicious restaurants, you will have plenty to see and do during your retirement. It was also voted the 6th safest area in the UK with very low crime rates!
Plymouth is undoubtedly one of the nicest places to live in England and is surely a top candidate for the best place to retire in Devon.
Average property price: £197,253
Average rent: £1,115 PCM
If you are a nature lover asking where to retire, Coventry is a city well-worth considering if you want to experience the great outdoors.
Home to seven beautiful parks, residents get access to some of the finest green spaces available.
Voted number 18 by Profile Pensions for best places to retire 2019, the city placed high thanks to its low crime rates, parks and churches, activities available, and cafes and pubs.
As the second safest place to live and filled with things to see and do, Coventry is well-worth considering and is a strong contender for the best place to live in UK if you are retired.
Devon was voted the third best retirement destination by specialists Hodge, and with cities like Plymouth, it’s clear why.Daniel Williams
Best Places to Retire 6-10
Average property price: £261,830
Average rent: £878 PCM
Serene. Beautiful. Peaceful. These are just some of the words that come to mind when you think of Suffolk.
The East Anglian county is often right at the top of the pecking order for retirement locations, and for a good reason, too.
You can feel a strong sense of history here, with stunning architecture and ancient abbeys to help transport you back to a less complicated time.
There is plenty to see and do in this tranquil paradise, like rare wildlife sites such as The Brecks, to the Suffolk Coast- an area of outstanding natural beauty.
It’s one of the great places to live in the UK, and it should be at the top of your consideration if you’re asking about the best places to live in UK if you are retired.
Average property price: £162,962
Average rent: £962 PCM
The home of Robin Hood, Nottingham is a beautiful city brimming with life and adventure in the East Midlands.
With more shops than you can visit in a lifetime in two major shopping centres, and a host of world-class facilities and green spaces, you will never be caught bored here.
History buffs will undoubtedly fall in love with Nottingham, which boasts some of the finest spectacles around.
From the stunning Nottingham Castle, the mesmerising City of Caves, and the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, there’s plenty of culture to see and explore.
If you’re a literature buff, the city is also famous for bringing famed author D.H. Lawrence to the world.
With house prices incredibly affordable and living costs equally as kind, Nottingham is one of the cheapest places to retire UK.
Average property price: £227,553
Average rent: £1,025 PCM
The Welsh capital of Cardiff may seem on the surface like a student haven, but it’s almost perfect for retirees with plenty to see and do.
Immersed in beautiful countryside locations like the Brecon Beacons and Wye Valley, you can be sure to find some great places to explore.
It’s previously won the sought-after title of “Best Place to Live,” and with over 260 pubs and cafes, stunning coastal views, and Swansea and Bristol both short journeys away for further exploration, you can’t go wrong settling down here.
The city also boasts below-average house prices, making it another affordable option on this list.
If you want to know where to retire in Wales, Cardiff is an excellent option for you.
Average property price: £311,829
Average rent: £1,453 PCM
Found on the doorstep of the River Avon, this southwestern city offers some of the most jam-packed landmarks on this list.
From Bristol Cathedral, the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton Observatory, and a zoo, there’s a lot to explore in this wonderful location.
If you’re a golfer, there’s plenty of green to explore here, too, along with several stunning walking routes and adventure opportunities across the metropolis.
Famed and elusive graffiti artist Banksy also hails from the area, meaning you can catch some of their earliest work dotted around the city.
House prices here have increased by a fair amount over the years, but this is a fantastic place to settle down if you can afford it with a tonne of amenities to explore.
Average property price: £254,740
Average rent: £1,053 PCM
Located south of our last entry, the county of Somerset is often hailed as one of the nicest places to live in the UK.
With enchanting rolling hills and quaint little towns, the area is one straight out of a fairy tale.
But it’s not just the environment that is so mesmerising about this location.
The area features the oldest engineered road in the world, The Sweet Track, and boasts some of the most stunning National Trust landmarks in the UK.
With Barrington Court, Dunster Working Watermill, and the fantastic Cheddar Gorge – Britain’s biggest gorge- there’s a tonne of sights to see for those looking for a retirement filled with exploration.
For foodies, the county is renowned for its cheddar cheese, offering a scrumptious bite to eat during your stay.
The county features some of the best retirement towns UK, and is worth considering if you want to retire.
Best Places to Retire 11-15
Average property price: £246,061
Average rent: £1,036 PCM
An area of unquestionable beauty, this East Anglian county found north of Suffolk has cemented itself as a top candidate for the best place to retire in UK areas.
Explore 90 miles of unspoiled coastline with an assortment of stunning cliffs and dunes. These beaches are renowned as some of the best around, with Holkham and Wells on the northern coast, voted the best beach in Britain.
It’s not just the beaches that are first-class, though. With thriving shopping centres to visit and the stunning 125 miles of waterways in the Norfolk Broads, the county is one of the best places to live in the United Kingdom.
Also, the county has been described as the birdwatching capital of the UK, with flocks of rare birds waiting to be discovered.
Prices here are very reasonable, too, providing an excellent opportunity to settle down at an affordable cost.
If you want one of the nicest places to live in UK areas, Norfolk is worth your consideration.
Average property price: £149,565
Average rent: £920 PCM
Scotland’s largest city has a lot to offer to those looking for the best place to retire in UK areas.
The city offers a superb blend of culinary spots, shopping centres, and a legendary music scene, making entertainment as easy as ever to find.
Coupling this with stunning architecture like the breath-taking Glasgow Cathedral, you have a recipe for excitement and relaxation.
Glasgow isn’t just notable for the amenities at your feet, though, but thanks to fantastic transport links, you have access to some of the best sights around.
The tranquil Loch Lomond and the beautiful beaches of Ayr are all short journeys away via public transport.
For cheap retirement in the UK, prices in Glasgow are surprisingly low, making it one of the cheapest places to retire UK.
Average property price: £198,509
Average rent: £676 PCM
Another serene county on this list, Lincolnshire offers a host of lovely sights with countryside, coastlines, and picturesque landscapes to choose from.
Located in the East Midlands, the county offers some spectacular things to do.
The city of Lincoln has been described as Britain’s best small city, with 2000 years of history to delve into.
There’s also fantastic shopping opportunities in the Cathedral Quarter and on the high street.
Leaving the city, the north-eastern coastline is internationally renowned for its beauty and wildlife, providing an extra boost to retirees looking to explore nature.
With all the beauty and sights on offer, it’s surprising then that prices here are far below the UK average, making it another example of one of the cheapest places to retire UK.
Average property price: £165,705
Average rent: £803 PCM
Another Welsh entry on this list, this coastal town and city offers some fantastic opportunities for retirees looking to stay entertained and relaxed.
For art fanatics, the vibrant and classic Glynn Vivian Art Gallery should be at the top of your list of visits.
Moreover, with the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Market, and the awe-inspiring Clyne Gardens, you will always have something to see and do in this city.
Nature lovers are in luck in Swansea, which boasts some of the best beaches in Wales. The Gower Peninsula is one of the most iconic sights in the UK, with attractions such as Three Cliffs Bay and Llangennith Beach attracting thousands of visitors each year.
With so many essential retirement aspects on offer here, Swansea is a clear candidate for one of the top places to live in UK areas.
Average property price: £262,939
Average rent: £1,274 PCM
Britain is iconic for its coastal destinations, and none are quite as spectacular as Cornwall.
An immensely popular holiday spot, if you are trying to escape the hectic life of city living, this southwestern county is perfect for you.
With pubs, vineyards, breweries, and top restaurants to choose from, Cornwall is a foodie’s dream.
Home to world-famous Cornish pasties, and delectable Cornish cream teas, unique leisure opportunities are at your fingertips.
That’s not to mention the iconic sights to see. From stunning beaches to wildlife sanctuaries, exploring the Cornish Riviera is one of the UK’s most attractive offers.
Average house prices may be slightly above average, but the value of money you get to live in such an iconic part of Britain is unmatched. For these reasons, and many more, Cornwall is one of the nicest places to live in England.
Best Places to Retire 16-20
16. Newcastle upon Tyne
Average property price: £167,246
Average rent: £1,029 PCM
The second happiest place in the North East, Newcastle upon Tyne is one of the UK’s most iconic cities.
Home to Premier League giants Newcastle United FC, the city offers so much more than a world-class sports destination.
The area, including Quayside and Gateshead, forms a fantastic and vibrant area known as NewcastleGateshead.
With an award-winning restaurant scene, wonderful museums, and plenty of attractions, there’s a lot to love about this charming city.
Despite a reputation as a student hotspot, there is plenty to do for older people, with a peaceful countryside and a striking coastline to explore.
The average house prices here are incredibly affordable, making moving far more accessible for retirees on a tighter budget. For this reason, it is an example of the best place to live in UK if you are retired.
17. The Lake District
Average property price: £258,285 (Zoopla)
Average rent: £665 PCM
Perhaps the most popular travel location in Northern England, the Lake District National Park in Cumbria is one of the most beautiful spots you can find anywhere in the UK.
Offering rugged mountains and striking lakes, the region is a haven for those passionate about the outdoors.
With mountains to climb, lakes to explore, and hikes to trail, this UNESCO World Heritage Site can be the perfect home for a retiree.
There’s a host of fantastic restaurants to take your pick of, too, with hearty local food produce being served up regularly.
House prices here are slightly above the UK average, but to stay in such an iconic spot, many retirees will see the area as worthy of the premium.
Average property price: £327,190
Average rent: £1,266 PCM
While you may be familiar with this stunning area from the hit TV show, The Only Way is Essex, this South East county is so much more than a reality tv show.
Equipped with over 2,000 years of rich history, the area is one begging to be explored and enjoyed.
The county caters to every desire you might have from water sports and spas, racecourses and theatres, and cycling and walking routes.
Essex is well-known for its lavish lifestyle, making house prices quite expensive at £327,190.
If you have the budget for it, though, it’s well-worth considering this stunning part of the country, which features some of the best retirement towns UK.
19. Peak District
Average property price: £198,694 (Derbyshire)
Average rent: £653 PCM
Another stunning national park on this list, the Peak District National Park is spectacular for many of the same reasons as the Lake District.
Located in central England, the area was the first national park in the UK and offers some enviable views for local residents, with limestone valleys and striking moorland as far as the eye can see.
For the adventurous, the region is famous for its caves, with some reaching a colossal 400m below ground.
Many famous films, like Pride and Prejudice, have been filmed here thanks to the area’s outstanding natural beauty.
Whether you want to get a bite to eat or take part in gruelling trekking challenges, you will have plenty to do in this wonderful UK park. It’s clearly one of the top places to live UK.
Average property price: £374,959
Average rent: £1,710 PCM
The largest city in Somerset, Bath sits in the valley of the River Avon and is well-known for its storied past.
Named after the ancient Roman baths built there, the city attracts thousands of visitors each year who are drawn to the relaxing allure of the area.
With access to the only natural thermal hot spring in Britain that you can bathe in, the city is incredibly unique and sits only one and a half hours away from London.
Museums, shops, and festivals make finding entertainment easy, while access to world-famous sights like Stonehenge places the area in a prime location for retirees.
Prices can fetch for a hefty price here at £374,959, which is critical to keep in mind if you have a smaller budget.
Best Places to Retire 21-25
Average property price: £144,936
Average rent: £790 PCM
If you can brave the cold of Scottish winters, then this historic county could be your perfect retirement location.
Lovingly referred to as the Kingdom of Fife, the area is a world-renowned destination for its golf, with plenty of charming towns and retirement villages to visit and explore.
With castles, galleries, and museums on offer, along with the iconic St. Andrews to visit, Fife may be the place for you.
Prices here are incredibly affordable, so if you’re a fan of golf, this could be your ideal destination.
Average property price: £214,833
Average rent: £1,305 PCM
A port city on the south coast, Southampton was voted second as the best place to retire in UK areas 2019 by Profile Pensions.
Second only to Plymouth, the city was hailed for its incredible number of cafes and pubs (202 to be precise), activities available, and access to 29 parks and churches.
That’s just the start of Southampton’s charm, though, with a strong maritime history consisting of the world-famous Titanic.
You can spend days exploring the city’s rich history, with tonnes of museums and architecture to see.
Prices are also incredibly reasonable, sitting comfortably below the national average.
Average property price: £309,427
Average rent: £1,245 PCM
Another county on our list, Dorset can be found in southwest England and is undoubtedly most famous for its history-drenched coastline.
Known as the Jurassic Coast, the cliffs here stretch along the English Channel and are filled with fossils and rock formations covering millions of years of world history.
Aside from this, the area also boasts some fantastic landmarks like the Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast, and the stunning Lulworth Cove.
The county also boasts some of the finest beaches around, with Poole, Weymouth, and Swanage boasting trendy tourist spots.
Like many southern locations, prices can get a little expensive here, with averages sitting around £309,427. In spite of this though, Dorset is certainly one of the top places to live UK.
Average property price: £198,344
Average rent: £553 PCM
Wales’ fifth-largest county, Pembrokeshire boasts one of the best coastlines around, making it one of the best places in UK to live.
In fact, National Geographic has described the area as the second-best coastline in the world.
The county offers visitors over 186 miles of stunning coast across 50 fantastic beaches.
If that’s not enough to enchant you, then there are plenty of places that will.
From the puffin-filled Skomer Island, the gorgeous town of Newport, and the Bluestone National Park Resort, there is so much for nature lovers to explore.
The area also boasts fantastic restaurants and food spots like Narberth Food Festival, providing the perfect retirement spot for those seeking a serene life in Wales.
Average property price: £201,308
Average rent: £941 PCM
The UK’s second city, Birmingham has been transformed over the years thanks to mammoth regeneration.
This transformation has been rewarded with the imminent hosting of the Commonwealth Games 2022.
But it’s not its sporting prowess that makes the city such a strong contender for the best place to retire in UK areas. Thanks to wonderful restaurants, attractions, and bars, the city is firmly on the map as a retirement hotspot.
Deemed to be the safest place to live by Compare the Market in 2018, the city has a lot to offer for retirees to consider.
Plus, with average prices around the £200k mark, the city is far more affordable than cities further south.
Best Places to Retire 26-30
26. Brighton and Hove
Average property price: £389,866
Average rent: £2,046 PCM
The coastal town and city of Brighton is perfect for those wanting warmer weather in the UK and is one of the best places in UK to live.
With tonnes of beaches to choose from, this stunning city in East Sussex should be at the top of your list when considering retiring.
Like other cities on this list, Brighton offers a perfect blend of restaurants, bars, leisure activities, and more.
This colourful and vibrant city has become immensely popular with holiday goers, thanks to its stunning beaches.
Take a dip into the warm sea, or walk along the 200-year-old Brighton Palace Pier for a fantastic day-out.
All things considered, the city is perhaps one of the best places to retire in England. The only stumbling block could be the price, with averages sitting at over £380,000.
27. Yorkshire Dales
Average property price: £340,387 (Zoopla)
Average rent: £1,009 PCM
How could we make a list of top retirement spots without mentioning this beautiful stretch of England?
The Yorkshire Dales National Park, located in Northern England, is one of the top beauty spots in the world.
The site was crowned as the best national park in all of Europe in TripAdvisor’s annual awards, and 11th on the global scale.
With valleys and hills begging to be explored and the 12th-century ruins of a monastery in Bolton Abbey Estate to whet the history appetite, the area is quickly entering a league of its own for retirees.
Average property prices here are quite expensive, but if you want to immerse yourself in the world of nature, you will often face a premium.
Still, the Yorkshire Dales is certainly one of the best places to live in the United Kingdom.
Average property price: £376,653
Average rent: £1,598 PCM
Another southern entry on this list, the county of Oxfordshire in South East England is known worldwide for its crowning university city Oxford, but there’s so much more than education going on here.
Overflowing with historical sites, restaurants, castles, and even a nearby zoo, the county is filled with an unquestionable charm, drawing in thousands each year.
With picturesque retirement villages to explore and striking natural scenery, the allure of Oxfordshire is sure to tempt anyone looking ahead to retirement.
The area was voted one of the best places to retire UK 2017, and it’s still true in 2021.
Prices here can be incredibly steep, with average house prices just below the £380,000 mark and Oxford itself nearly £450,000.
However, if you have the money, you will not find a more ideal retirement spot than this.
If you want to live in one of the top places to live, and one of the best places to retire UK 2017 and 2021, be sure to consider Oxfordshire.
Average property price: £304,576 (Zoopla)
Average rent: £1,031 PCM
Perfect for its location and easy access to some of the most beautiful spots in the UK, Durham may not be the most obvious answer for retirement but dig a little below the surface and you will find a city with immense possibility.
There’s plenty to keep you entertained in Durham, with an eclectic mix of restaurants, museums, parks, and castles.
Nature lovers can get their fill, too, with access to the North Pennine Grouse Moors and Derment Waterside Park, amongst others, to provide a peaceful and serene environment.
If you want a top contender for UK best places to live, then consider Durham.
Average property price: £167,228
Average rent: £796 PCM
Located in the North West county of Lancashire, the city is one of the UK best places to live and has a storied past.
From the proud medieval Lancaster Castle to the Lancaster City and Lancaster Maritime museums, history buffs that want their city overflowing with character are sure to find Lancaster an attractive choice.
The city also offers fantastic woodlands and green space in Williamson Park, and you can also explore the jaw-dropping scenery of the Lancaster Canal.
With house prices sitting at an average of £167,228, Lancaster offers an incredibly affordable place to live, making it one of the best places to retire in UK areas.
The city of Lincoln has been described as Britain’s best small city, with 2000 years of history to delve into.Daniel Williams
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Property prices were found using the latest data from the UK House Price Index and Zoopla. All rental figures were found from Zoopla.