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Best winter hobbies for retirees

28th January 2020


The winter season may bring along cold weather and shorter days but it’s a great excuse for picking up some fantastic hobbies – especially for those now in retirement who have some extra time on their hands. There are so many wonderful pastimes out there that will not only help you pass the time but bring you years of enjoyment down the road.

Leanne, from the midlife lifestyle blog Cresting the Hill, has many hobbies to keep her occupied and spoke about how important interests like these can be for those in retirement: “Having hobbies and interests is vital in retirement. I’m very focused on not overfilling my days and being ‘busy’ from dawn to dusk, but at the same time, I don’t want to be sitting around twiddling my thumbs and being bored. The key is to find a balance between scheduled activities and times where you’re just chilling out and being completely flexible.

“Hobbies fit into both categories – I have some that involve going out and joining in an activity (volunteering, exercise class, tai chi), and others where I can stop and start on my own timetable (reading, blogging, adult colouring-in, walking). Retirement is all about freedom and flexibility – so far, I’ve never felt bored or at a loose end, there’s always something to keep me occupied or to look forward to.”

Retirement is the time to explore all those activities you’ve always been drawn to and for discovering things you never thought you might enjoy. So, read on to discover your new favourite pastime with this guide to the best winter hobbies for retirees.

Tai chi


Leanne from Cresting the Hill is a big fan of Tai Chi and has recommended the martial art as a great winter hobby for retirees:

“One hobby that’s proved to be a great winter activity is my tai chi class. Our local Senior Citizens Centre hosts a lot of fantastic classes for a nominal fee. I pay a very small amount each week to attend an hour-long tai chi session and I love it. We meet inside so it’s not weather dependent and it engages my mind and body without being over-taxing on my joints, it connects me with other people in a range of ages, and it’s given me a skill that I’ve always wanted to learn. My advice is to look around and see what’s on offer (I thought I was too young for the Senior Citizens – but discovered a hidden gem in what they have to offer).

“Some retirees are out running marathons and feel fitter than they were in their younger days. I’m not one of them, but I do want to be healthy and active because you need to ‘move it or lose it’ according to the health professionals. Tai chi is known for its mind/body connection and is great for co-ordination and balance. I love that there are people from 50 to 80 in the class – each doing it at their own comfort level, feeling a sense of achievement as they master a particular set of moves, and at the same time we’re enjoying keeping fit at a manageable level. I’ll be attending for many years to come.”



Travelling is a hobby that keeps on giving. Truly one of the most versatile pastimes, travelling can be enjoyed by people of all ages, tastes, and levels of mobility. No matter your interests, there are endless destinations that can be discovered. You can travel by plane, by car, and cruise ship, seeing parts of the world that will create cherished memories.

Karl-Heinz of the travel blog KHL Lifestyle knows full well the joys of travel and has spoken about why he recommends it as a winter hobby for retirees: “Travelling always means broadening your horizons; getting to know foreign countries, meeting locals, trying different food. Travelling is also a great opportunity to do something for your personal wellbeing - be it hiking in splendid nature or enjoying a massage in a wellness hotel. Winter in Europe is a wonderful time to travel - either if you want to relax in the snow and enjoy fresh air in the mountains or if you want to escape the cold season and spend some time in a warm beach destination.”

With all his travel experience, Karl-Heinz has recommended some ideal destinations for retirees looking to travel during winter: “If you like to enjoy winter, the Kranzbach Hotel in the picturesque German Alps might be a good option. Located on a meadow in pristine nature close to Germany´s highest mountain Zugspitze (2,966 m), this wellness resort is offering everything you need for a relaxing winter holiday, including a so-called ‘onsen’ (outdoor Japanese swimming-pool with hot water) and a meditation house.

“If you are seeking sun and warmer temperatures, the Canary Islands are ideal for Europeans. Located close to Africa, this archipelago offers stunning beaches, volcanic mountains with excellent hiking opportunities, picturesque villages and great hotels. My favourite is the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real, a five-star property on the island of Fuerteventura, which is known for its endless sandy beaches and impressive mountains.”



Any avid reader will be able to illumine you on the joys of this most enjoyable of hobbies. There is nothing more comforting or cosy than snuggling up at home with a good book – whether that’s a memoir of a favourite historical figure, a classic novel from yesteryear, or one of today’s best-selling paperbacks, there is something for everyone. Susan Osborne, from the book news, reviews and recommendations blog A Life in Books, shares her opinion on what makes reading a first-rate hobby for retirees in winter:

“Reading can offer an enjoyable escape from the miserable weather of a UK winter, taking you to places that you might never be able to visit both in time and place. You can lose yourself in a good novel or learn something new. It can also be a sociable thing to do. If you like the sound of joining a reading group, your local library might be able to help.”

Many people like the sound of reading more but for one reason or another can’t make time for it. Susan recommends the following for people such as these: “If you'd like reading to become a habit, why not choose a set time each day to sit with a book, perhaps just for 15 minutes to begin with. Lots of readers I know like to read a chapter or so in bed before putting out the lights. Pick something you've been wanting to read for ages but if a book doesn't turn out to be what you hoped it would, best give it up and try another. Reading should be an enjoyment, a treat to look forward to rather than a chore to tick off your list.”

Country walks

Just because you are a person has decided to install a stair lift at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy the beauty of your nearest countryside walk. Winter is a great time for this as the cooler temperatures mean you won’t get overheated or suffer as easily from dehydration. You can go at your own pace and discover safe wooded paths, flat riverside trails, and all manner of scenic walks that are suitable for you and your level of mobility. Going with loved ones can be a great excuse to chat and even solo walks are a nice opportunity to think in peace. Of course, the exercise will be beneficial, and the crisp fresh air will work wonders too.



Baking is an ever-popular pastime with so many taking to their kitchens to cook up some delicious treats to share with friends and loved ones – or even to just devour themselves. Forgetting the cold weather and honing your baking skills will provide endless enjoyment, not only for the yummy end result but the satisfaction of experimenting will be rewarding as well. From chocolate cookies and gingerbread to cakes of all shapes and sizes, this new hobby will certainly make you popular with others. You could even try your hand at creating healthy alternatives to classic treats – combining great taste and nutrition into one delicious package.

Lucy from the baking blog Pudding Lane has shared why she feels baking is a great hobby for retirees during winter: “It can be frustrating being stuck indoors when it’s cold and rainy. The good news, however, is that time at home is one of the key requirements for bread making! Winter is a great time to try your hand at making bread, which requires several long periods of proving before baking. Start off with a simple white loaf and then, once you’re feeling a little more confident, you can start experimenting with enriched doughs for brioche, challah and panettone.”

Lucy also provided some helpful tips for those who are new to baking: “Bread can take a bit of time to get used to, and it’s very much about learning to recognise the different stages and when the dough is ready for the next step. For this reason, I’d recommend kneading and shaping by hand to start with, as it’s important to get a feel for it. Start with a simple recipe, perhaps to be baked in a tin, and build up from there.”

For those starting out BBC Good Food has a handy list of easy baking recipes. You can even take a look at these yummy Christmas treats for when the holidays roll around.

Arts and crafts

When the weather turns against us, we inevitably feel the urge to spend plenty of time wrapped up indoors. One of the best hobbies to take up at times like this, especially when you have some extra time on your hands, is crafts. Consider engaging your creative side and try your hand at crafting an array of artistic creations. From handmade little gifts for grandchildren to making ornaments from wood and fabrics that can decorate your home, there are lots of options out there. Jewellery making, painting, clay modelling, soap making, mosaics, textiles, papercraft, the list is endless! Have a think about what you might like to try and pop online to get inspired.

Winter hobbies to try during retirement

  • Tai chi
  • Travelling
  • Reading
  • Country walks
  • Baking
  • Arts and crafts

For retirees searching for some fun new hobbies to enjoy during the winter months, hopefully, this list has provided some helpful suggestions and inspiration. So, give something a go, try something new, you never know what might become of it!

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.