Best Places to Retire in the UK

Where are the best places to retire in the UK and what makes a good city for retirees? It’s a common question for those that are thinking about later life.

What Makes a Location the Best Place to Retire?

Many people have their idea of a dream retirement and typically, it involves slowing down to enjoy the finer things in life. Most people want to be able to spend their days enjoying their favourite past-times, picking up new hobbies or spending time socialising.

According to Profile Pensions, the major factors that people use to identify a city for retirement is:

  • Typical Property Prices (Normal and Retirement Properties)
  • Crime Rate per Capita
  • Number of Cafes and Pubs
  • Number of Parks and Churches
  • Entertainment and Activities Available (such as cinemas, golf clubs etc)

As you’d imagine, typical property prices are particularly important, especially as more and more retirees look to ‘downsize’ – choosing apartments or townhouses in the city because these spaces tend to be more manageable.

These properties typically offer a high-standard of living and are relatively much easier to maintain than a much larger property, with the amenities nearby that make everyday life run smoother.

This reinforces a common trend that appears to be taking hold in the rental market – the amount of UK properties being rented to people aged over-60. This number has risen by 60% since 2007, introducing a new type of renting demographic – ‘silver renters’.

The age-bracket is fast becoming a larger part of the rental market and now makes up 15% of rented households across the country.

A major aspect of this growing trend is the opportunity to have amenities to hand. Whether it’s easy access to supermarkets or restaurants and pubs, retirees are increasingly looking to be at the heart of the action where they can make the most of their time.

With renting also set to become the norm – renters are expected to overtake homeowners by 2039 – it’s no surprise that ‘best place to retire’ is becoming such a common question, as older people look for the flexibility that cities can provide.

Which Cities are Best for Retirees?

Using the criteria mentioned above, we’ve established a list of top retirement locations across the UK. By measuring affordability, available amenities and social standing, these are the cities that are best suited for retirees.


Voted one of the top places to live in the UK in 2018, York is known for its local landmarks, places of interest and rich cultural heritage.

With plenty to see and do in the centre, York is a popular destination for a city break in the UK. The city layout means that the centre of York is predominantly traffic-free, making it both clean and quiet. York also has the benefit of a lively city-centre and relatively quiet surrounding countryside, meaning retirees can get the best of both worlds.


As the UK’s second city, Birmingham strikes an excellent balance between an exciting city-core and relaxed village feel – depending on the area you visit. At the heart of the city you’ll find exciting amenities such as restaurants, bars, tourist hotspots and vibrant shopping centres.

Travel a short distance from the city-centre and you’ll find a more relaxed suburban vibe in top areas such as Harborne, Moseley and Edgbaston. With relatively affordable property prices and such a varied range of things to do, Birmingham is a top choice for retirees that are looking to move back into the city.


Regularly topping ‘Best Places to Retire’ lists, Plymouth is a coastal town with an affordable property market and plenty for retirees to enjoy. According to Profile Pensions, Plymouth is desirable because of its plentiful parks, cafes and cultural centres.

Devon is particularly popular because of its stunning countryside, despite higher property prices than other regional areas in the UK.


A major city in the East Midlands, Nottingham regularly appears on these lists due to the affordability it can provide. The home of Robin Hood, Nottingham is also typically chosen for its easy access to golf courses amongst other leisure facilities.

In terms of the city itself, the core is relatively contained with a wide variety on offer for residents, while surrounding suburbs and villages offer a more peaceful vibe.


A former winner of the ‘Best Place to Live’ in the UK, Cardiff is typically recognised as a hotspot for retirement. With low average property prices and a huge range of amenities – according to Profile Pensions there are over 260 pubs and cafes in the city – Cardiff is a compact city offering cosmopolitan living with beautiful coastal views just a short distance away.


Named ‘Best Place to Live’ in 2017, Bristol has been described as a ‘small city that feels like a big city’. With a reputation for the creative arts, a broad food and drink scene as well as glamorous, professional career opportunities, Bristol also has the nearby benefits of the seaside and scenery in abundance.

If you’re looking for a city that thrives on individuality, Bristol is your home away from home.

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