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Best Places to Retire in the UK

Posted 9 August 2017 by Keith Osborne

The Telegraph has researched statistics to find the top choices of where to retire to in the UK

Recent research from The Telegraph, based on data from the Office for National Statistics, has led to them finding the UK’s most popular retirement destinations.

The survey took data about internal migration for those over 65 years of age during 2016 and discovered the ten best places to retire in the UK, taking the number of those moved out of the area from the number that moved in for the biggest net increases.

Many of the areas were in the southern part of England, with the northernmost area the East Riding of Yorkshire. Four of these top ten areas are coastal, underlining the popularity of a seaside home in retirement years, while most are famed for impressive countryside scenery and heritage locations. Urban areas, predominantly in London, make up a large proportion of places to move from.

1.  Wiltshire

William LodgeOne of England’s most sparsely-populated counties, Wiltshire is part of the South West region best known for heritage sites such as Avebury and Stonehenge in addition to its major towns and cities, Swindon, Salisbury, Chippenham and administrative headquarters Trowbridge.

Wiltshire provides residents with some exceptional landscape, with the county hosting a part of the New Forest National Park as well as three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the North Wessex Downs, Cotswolds and Cranborne Chase.

The M4 passes through the north of the county, with the A303 crossing the south. Most major towns have railway connections, creating a network with connections in every direction across the country.

Example new build retirement property: William Lodge from Churchill Retirement Living in Malmesbury 

2.  Arun

Segmented north to south by the river of the same name, Arun is a part of West Sussex, with Bognor Regis and Littlehampton its largest coastal resorts and Arundel its main town. The South Downs dominate the northern half of the district, providing it with spectacular views and numerous charming villages.

The A27 connects the coastal towns to others in the county, including Chichester to the West and Brighton in the east. Many places are well-connected by rail services, giving a ‘best of both worlds’ feel to those who want to live in countryside but have easy access to the facilities of larger towns and cities.

Example new build retirement property: The Cavendish Collection from Renaissance Group in Rustington, West Sussex (www.renaissancegroup.co.uk)

3.  Tendring

Tendring is a district in the north-east of Essex, which has some lovely countryside (including the easternmost part of ‘Constable country’), the major port of Harwich and a number of traditional seaside resorts and coastal towns, such as Clacton-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze and Brightlingsea. The nearest major town is Colchester, just outside the district’s western border, the hub of rail links to this area and to London.

It already has a high proportion of pensioners, with a new development of homes specifically for older people, opened in June 2017, demonstrating the area’s commitment to quality housing for pensioners.

4. East Devon

Holyshute LodgeWith miles of the county’s southern coastline to its name, including resorts such as Seaton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth, much of which is within the borders of the East Devon AONB, the popularity of this region will come as no surprise. The major town of Honiton is on the fringes of the Blackdown Hills AONB, which dominates the northern part of the regions and matches its seaboard in charm and visual appeal.

East Devon made it to 37 in the 2017 Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey thanks to good scores on topics such as life expectancy, crime statistics and environmental factors.

Example new build retirement property: Holyshute Lodge from Churchill Retirement Living in Honiton 

5. Breckland

This part of East Anglia is a Special Protection Area for wild birds that covers over 39,000 hectares across the Norfolk/Suffolk border, and includes a large part of Thetford Forest Park, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There are numerous villages and market towns to enjoy, and it’s the perfect place for those who enjoys countryside walks.

Among the largest towns in the area are Thetford, Swaffham and Dereham, the latter just 16 miles west of Norwich and within half an hour of the Norfolk Broads. Norwich itself is the wider area’s cultural hub and has superb shopping as well as a very thorough rail network covering much of the region and with a two-hour intercity route into London.

6.  Shropshire

Shropshire might appeal to those looking for a place to retirement in the UK due to its substantial countryside and rural areas, low population density, many pleasant market towns and special places such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ironbridge and the Shropshire Hills AONB.

Ludlow, once described by poet Sir John Betjeman as “probably the loveliest town in England”, has a significant population of people of retirement age, and while it certainly does have a great deal that survives of its history, it is also making efforts to modernise in a way that respects its much-loved past.

Example new build retirement property: Stiperstones Court from McCarthy & Stone in Shrewsbury, Shropshire 

7.  Taunton Deane

In the south-west of Somerset, Taunton Deane is an area with the populous town of Taunton at its centre. Largely dominated by rural communities, the district is topped and tailed by two AONBs, the Quantock Hills to the north and Blackdown Hills to the south.

Such places are bound to appeal to retirees looking for scenic places to consider for their later years, and the census shows the district with a higher-than-average proportion of over-65s (20% against a national average of 16%). It’s also well connected, with the M5 crossing it and Taunton a rail hub with connections to Bristol, Devon and Cornwall, and east via Reading to London.

Example new build retirement property: Lock House in Taunton by McCarthy & Stone

8.  Worthing

Worthing is one of a number of well-known West Sussex coastal towns, connected by road and rail to large and small neighbours such as Shoreham-by-Sea, Goring-by-Sea, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and the major towns of Chichester and Brighton.

For those looking for UK retirement towns with the option of variety on the doorstep, and lots of nearby family-friendly facilities for visiting relatives to share, it will rank highly. It’s also just south of the South Downs National Park, which is great for those who enjoy walking and cycling and terrific scenic views. The Metro reported in 2017 that there were many reasons Worthing was a better place to live than the capital, all of which are likely to appeal to older property buyers as much as younger ones.

9.  East Riding of Yorkshire

Chestnut Court​Hull is probably the county’s best-known population centre, but the East Riding of Yorkshire is actually administered from Beverley, a few miles north of this year’s UK City of Culture, and an affordable city with new developments expanding it. Bridlington and Goole are two other towns most widely known nationally. Recent reports have shown regional new build property prices to be growing slower than the national average, which may appeal to retirees on a modest budget.

Outside these places are a host of villages and market towns across the county that may appeal to retiring homebuyers. The most northern part of the very long coastline is designated the Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast and an SSSI, for geology and wildlife.

Example new build retirement property: Chestnut Court from McCarthy & Stone in Bridlington, East Rising of Yorkshire 

10.  Horsham

With around 16,000 new homes planned for the district of Horsham between 2011 and 2031, it is one of the busiest development areas in the South East of England. A proportion of these homes is sure to be targeted specifically at older buyers looking to enjoy the heritage of this market town alongside a plethora of new amenities and community facilities.

Horsham is well connected, located as it is on road and rail links between London and the South Coast, and within a few miles of Gatwick. Beautiful countryside to enjoy life in retirement is all around, as the town is located not far from two AONBs (High Weald and Surrey Hills) and the South Downs National Park.

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