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Great places to retire in the UK

3rd July 2017

Some people get tired of living in a city or town their whole working life and that is why many think about moving somewhere more peaceful and relaxing to retire.

Before deciding to move, people need to do their research and look at crime levels, the weather and healthcare in the area, especially if they suffer from mobility problems and need help around the home with the likes of new walk in baths and showers and stairlifts.

Fortunately there are lots of places across the UK that are perfect for retiring and here is a list of the best counties people should head to as well as information on great attractions in the county people can visit and the weather.


Prudential’s Quality Retirement Index has stated that the county is the most attractive county for pensioners to retire.

Being home to most of the iconic Jurassic Coast and having the third highest concentration of people over the age of 65 living there are all factors in it being one of the best places to retire.

Dorset has been known to have one of the lowest crime rates in the UK and its climate is also great for older people temperatures commonly reaching around 18 °C to 20 °C in the summer months and winters being fairly mild with temperatures ranging from 4 °C to 8 °C.

Dorset healthcare is among the best in the UK with the county running a number of programmes such as an electronic health record to enable health and social care providers to share records.

Great attractions

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Monkey World, the internationally-acclaimed rescue centre, is home to over 250 primates. Many have been neglected, kept in unnatural conditions, or experienced unbelievable cruelty. At Monkey World, they can all enjoy the company of their own kind in a safe and natural environment, and some are even part of international breeding programmes for endangered species. 

Combining fun with conservation, half-hourly keeper talks explain all about man’s closest living relative. Visitors can see the stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life’, then the grand children can ‘monkey around’ in the south’s largest Great Ape playground. The park is fully accessible, with a range of mobility scooters available for hire. Sensory statues and wheelchair swings are also on site to make sure Monkey World is a great day out for all.

Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is 95 miles of coastline and much of it is in Dorset. There are lots of really accessible walks along this historic coastline and visitors often say that it is like walking through time with rocks and fossils uncovering stories from the earth’s ancient past.

The entire Jurassic Coast stretches from Studland Bay in Dorset down to Exmouth in East Devon and one of the best ways to appreciate the stunning scenery is on foot. The walks are accessible as there are hundreds of connecting footpaths and bridleways along the coast.

The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Jurassic Coast Team have created a number of great short walks with all of them starting at bus stops along the Jurassic Coaster bus route in West Dorset.

Some of these walks include West Bay and Eype, Burton Bradstock to West Bay and the Burton Bradstock coastal circular walk to name a few.


Norfolk is an ideal place to retire. Not only does it have one of the best overall climates in the UK, with low rainfall and long sunny days, but it also has the lowest crime rate. Norfolk has over 90 miles of stunning coastline and beautiful countryside, perfect for cycling, walking, playing golf and other activities before finding a country pub or tea room to relax in.

However, Norfolk is also home to some great towns and cities that older people can explore, such as Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

Visit Norfolk, adds, “The county has one of the highest rates of National Trust membership in the country, and has superb stately homes to visit, including Royal Sandringham, many castles, cathedrals and wonderful museums.

“In Norwich we have the UK’s best preserved medieval city with a superb cultural and entertainment offering, including theatres, festivals and exhibition spaces, an excellent restaurant scene, and it’s one of the top ten rated cities for shopping, with four department stores, two malls, and wonderful independent shopping, particularly in the historic Lanes.”

Great attractions

Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

The Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach mixes high-octane rides and traditional attractions and its famous rides dominate the seafront skyline.

Located at the South end of Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile and spread over nine acres, the pleasure beach offers huge family fun, full-throttle white knuckle rides to exhilarate and thrill.

It will really take older people visiting the attraction back to when they were younger and is a great place to visit with the whole family.

The pleasure beach’s roller coaster is celebrating its 85th Birthday in 2017 and has been the star attraction since 1932 and is still a crowd puller today.

The free-to enter park attracted more than one million people in 2016 and this can be put down to the different attractions it boasts from the rides to the Pleasure Beach Gardens. Here visitors will find a junior driving school, a safari themed adventure golf course and a food kiosk selling a variety of foods.

The Broads National Park

The Broads National Park is Britain's largest protected wetland and third largest inland waterway. It is home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the UK, and historic Norwich is the only English city with a national Park in its midst. The River Wensum is part of the Broads and flows right into the city.

The Broads also adjoins the wonderful Norfolk coast at Winterton and Horsey, and continues into Suffolk along the beautiful Waveney valley, which is full of dramatic landscapes and raw natural beauty and is a great place for older visitors to explore.

Fortunately those with mobility issues can enjoy the national park as much as anyone else as there are lots of easy access paths and boardwalks located by the marshy areas and nature reserves.

Some of the walks that are perfectly suited for wheelchair users and those with mobility problems within the national park include Beccles Marsh Trails, Hoveton Riverside Park and Chedgrave.


The traditional home of the cream tea and the Devonport Royal Navy base, Devon is ranked in the national top 20 for its average hours of sunshine, number of pensioners and it also boasts the third lowest crime rate in England and Wales.

Great attractions

South Devon Railway

The multi-award winning South Devon Railway is one of the West Country’s best loved tourist attractions and is the longest established steam railway in the south west.

The track runs along the picturesque valley of the Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes (Riverside) and the steam trains will take visitors back.

The all-weather attraction has lots of things to do and see; from gardens and a museum to a riverside picnic area and a specialist workshop.

National Aquarium

No matter how old the visitor, the National Aquarium has a number of different areas people can visit.

This underwater world has the largest native exhibition in the UK that includes varieties of fish that are always crowd pleasers and other more mysterious marine life.

There are a number of different zones at the aquarium such as the Eddystone Reef tank with its largest single-tank viewing panel in the UK. There is also a Plymouth Sound zone that includes all the marine life you can find locally, the Great Barrier Reef zone that includes marine life such as turtles and the Atlantic Ocean zone which boasts sting rays, barracuda’s and sandtiger sharks.

The aquarium caters for those with mobility problems as throughout the attraction there are ramps and lifts and a number of disabled parking bays on site. There are also free wheelchairs that people can use.


Cornwall has long been a popular retirement destination with its miles upon miles of coastline, golden beaches and pretty harbours attracting people for many years.

The county boasts the mildest and sunniest climate in the UK, with Retirement for Seniors saying Cornwall usually benefits from over 1500 hours of sunshine every year.

The crime rate in Cornwall is very low and last year the Cornwall Live website reported that crime in general had decreased.

Great attractions

Trebah Garden

This sub-tropical Cornish valley garden has a great coastal backdrop and over four miles of footpaths for visitors to explore.

Trebah Garden is a great place to visit all-year round with a variety of different plants coming to life during different times of the year.

Retirees can explore the gardens or take the family here as there is an adventure play area, children’s trails and special events taking place throughout the year.

The Eden Project

The Eden Project is nestled in a huge crater close-by to the town of St Austell and its iconic biomes house the largest rainforest in captivity, a variety of stunning plants and exhibitions.

The Mediterranean and rainforest biomes are spectacular, but there is lots more to see and do with a rainforest canopy walk, England’s longest zip wire, sculptures and a Western Australia garden. The Eden Project even plays host to a number of concerts and has previously welcomed the likes of Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson and Kasabian.

West Sussex

West Sussex has proved a popular location to set up home for people to retire as the county ranks as the fourth most popular destination for retirees moving home and the Prudential Quality of Life Index also reveals that pensioners in West Sussex have the third highest retirement income in the country.

West Sussex boasts some of the best crime rates in the UK and the Quality of Life Index survey found it has the most sunshine in England and Wales. There are also lots of retirement and sheltered housing options available in the county.

Great attractions

Kews Wakehurst Botanic Garden

Wakehurst is Kew’s Botanic Garden in West Sussex and green fingered retirees will find one of the most beautiful botanic gardens in the country.

Visitors can explore the gardens as well as a huge mansion, a nature reserve and temperate woodlands among the 500 acres.

The Millennium Seed Bank is also located at the gardens and it is the largest wild seed preservation project in the world. Visitors can learn about the project and Kew’s worldwide scientific work.

No matter what season someone visits there are always lots to see, from the stunning bluebells on display in the woodlands in spring, to the summer blooms, autumn colours and in January 2018 the new Winter Garden.

The attraction is accessible for all as the botanic garden is on level ground with a hard surface running through it. The resident Seed Café also means visitors can grab a bite to eat if they are hungry.

Arundel Castle

The Arundel Castle is located high in the West Sussex’s hills, but visitors do get incredible views across the South Downs and the River Arun.

The castle has been the family home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for nearly 1,000 years. Today the castle plays host to a number of events with a Jousting & Medieval Tournament taking place from 25-30 July.

The castle is easily accessible with ramps and adapted facilities available throughout and the gardens being partly accessible to disabled visitors.


Herefordshire is one of England’s most rural and sparsely populated counties, but it is one of the best places to retire due to it being ranked highly in Prudential’s index for access to healthcare, attracting new pensioners and disability-free retirement.

Visit Herefordshire, adds, “In a nutshell, Herefordshire is a great place to stay, visit and explore with a diverse range of activities and experiences to suit all ages.

“With Hereford being the city, the hub of the whole county, it is a great base to visit the historic Cathedral including the Mappa Mundi Exhibition & Chained Library, the River Wye, the independent quarter in Church Street, plus the Black & White House museum.

“The Old Market shopping centre has a wealth of retail outlets to visit plus there are award-winning independent food outlets highlighting Herefordshire’s rich & unique food and drink. The Beefy Boys burger restaurant, The Cellar Door, Shack Revolution, A Rule of Tum & Sensory & Rye, plus the Left Bank located within the river quarter.”

Great attractions

Goodrich Castle

Overlooking the Wye Valley in Herefordshire, Goodrich Castle is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval castles in England.

The Domesday Book of 1086 records a nearby fishery belonging to Godric Mappeson, who may have given his name to ‘Godric’s Castle’, first recorded in 1101-2. The castle’s Norman keep (constructed 1138-76) contains fine examples of Norman architecture, with thick walls, rounded arch windows and chevron decoration.

Walking in Hereford

If you love walking, then Hereford is one of the best places to retire as there are a large network of secluded and unspoilt footpaths that are accessible.

There are thought to be around 2100 miles of walks, and this includes the 154 miles of the Herefordshire Trail.

There are walking groups which offer people guided walks and this year walkers can head on the six mile Orleton Amble on 29th July, a walk round the four mile Oaker Wood on 26th August or a walk from Luston to Eye, which is just four miles long.

Image Credit: Monkey World, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, the Broads National Park, South Devon Railway, Kews Wakehurst Botanic Garden, Goodrich Castle.

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