The best places to retire in the UK

If you’re tired of the rat race, you may be thinking of moving to somewhere more peaceful when you draw your pension. We look at some of the top choices for retirees in the UK

Every two years, insurer Prudential compiles a Quality of Retirement Index, based on seven categories: proportion of resident pensioners; disability-free life expectancy; healthcare; crime; number of pensioners arriving; pension income, and weather. While those won’t be everyone’s sole priorities, they are a decent guide to what makes a desirable spot for settling down. Here are five regions that score highly.


Dorset

Average house price: £283,691 (March 2017)
 

Lower Eype Farmhouse
Lower Eype Farmhouse, Bridport, Dorset. Grade II-listed, with four bedrooms, outbuildings, three acres and beautiful views. £1.1m Savills 01202-856800

Dorset topped Prudential’s list of the best places to retire in Britain for the second time in a row when the index was last updated in August. The county, which sits on the stunning Jurassic Coast, has the third-highest concentration of residents aged over 65 in Britain. However, it ranked only 35th out of 55 for access to healthcare.

Herefordshire

Average house price: £215,656
 

Lynch Court
Lynch Court, Eardisland, Herefordshire. This ten-bedroomed house dates from the
17th century and is surrounded by nine acres of gardens, with views across the Herefordshire meadows. £1.1m Hunters 014320-278278.

The only county in the top five that’s not on the south coast, Herefordshire heads the table for its healthy pensioner population. Perhaps that’s a reflection on the West Country county’s two most famous products: beef and cider. Those aged over 65 can expect on average to live disability free for 13 years. But bring your wellies. Herefordshire suffers from a relative lack of sunshine compared with its southern neighbours (ranking 26th). Pension income tends to be lower than the other retirement hotspots, ranking 33rd in the index.

West Sussex

Average house price: £311,301
 

Pigwidgeon Cottage
Pigwidgeon Cottage, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex. A modernised four-bedroomed house with medieval origins, which retains many original features that add to its charm. £650,000 Mishon Mackay 01273-834602.

The old Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Sussex is the sunniest spot in Britain in which to put your feet up after retiring. That may go some way towards explaining why modern-day West Sussex comes fourth in attracting new retirees, and joint-second with Herefordshire overall for quality of life in retirement. But the influx of the newly leisured has pushed average house prices to the top of the five counties featured on this page. It’s just as well, then, that older residents of West Sussex also bring in the highest pension income at £18,600 for 2014-2015, compared with the national average of £16,400.

Devon

Average house price: £241,028
 

Waters Edge
Waters Edge, Frogmore, Kingsbridge, Devon. A detached three-bedroomed bungalow at
the end of Frogmore Creek with riverside gardens and a running mooring. £650,000 Marchand Petit 01548-857588.

A clement climate and low crime rates mean that retirees in Devon can enjoy their cream teas in blissful tranquillity. The English Riviera is home to a beautiful stretch of coastline that has long made the area popular with holidaymakers. In 2016 the beach at Woolacombe, which has protected status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was voted Britain’s best by users of travel website TripAdvisor for the second year in a row.

Isle of Wight

Average house price: £198,865

Tied with East Sussex in the overall rankings  in fifth place, the largest island in England  is the most popular destination in Britain  for new retirees, which helps explain  why the Isle of Wight also boasts the  largest proportion of pensioners in Britain. Arguably, Queen Victoria set the trend for retiring to the Isle of Wight in the late 19th century, when she spent a good many years towards the end of her reign at Osborne House, close to the Solent in East Cowes.