Choosing the best place to retire to

Choosing the best place to retire to

Churchill Life

As we all know, moving house can be stressful – ranked in the top three most stressful lifetime events, along with marriage and childbirth. When you made your last move, you probably said “Never again!”

But there comes a time when it does make sense to move. And the key thing is to make sure you make it the right move – so you definitely never have to do it again!

Lots of factors come into play – price, size, design – but the single most important one is, as always, location. Where is the best place for retirement living, and does it tick all the boxes for your individual needs?

In later life, our needs are very different from what they were when we were younger. Things like easy access to good schools, or a fast commute to work, are now completely irrelevant. And you’re not going to need as much space as you used to. It’s nice to have family and friends to stay, but do you really need those extra rooms, and the heating bills that go with them? Gardening may be your passion, but it can be just as enjoyable in a smaller, more manageable space.

So you can start to narrow down the choices - somewhere smaller, energy efficient and lower maintenance - and then consider the location. There are the obvious things to bear in mind: do you want to retire close to your family and friends? Have you got local commitments or activities you want to keep up? You will certainly have favourites and places you are particularly attached to. But the choice may be wider than you think.

Relaxing by the sea

Let’s start with the seaside – a traditional retirement choice, and it’s easy to see why. Fresh air and bracing walks, buzzing resorts with a vibrant summer scene, unspoilt harbours and friendly villages, or magnificent cliffs and sweeping sands – around the shores of the UK there are retirement living options with as much undisturbed peace or bustling action as you fancy.

The South West is a firm favourite, and two of the top choices are Torquay on the ‘English Riviera’ and Newquay, where there is so much more than just surfing! Churchill Retirement Living has purpose-built retirement apartments in both places, and they are well worth a visit. On the other side of the country, the Essex coast is a bit of a well-kept secret. Check out Churchill’s Cooper Lodge in Frinton-on-Sea and you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Best places to retire by the sea:

  • Torquay
  • Newquay
  • Frinton-on-Sea

Country life

The countryside is equally popular as a place to retire. On the outskirts of a market town or in an historic village, surrounded by farmland, woodland or moorland, with hills and dales, rivers and streams, and wildlife galore – there are new, purpose-built retirement properties in some truly beautiful locations. In some places, village shops and local bus services are not what they were, but rest assured all our developments are close to the local shops and amenities, and peace and quiet are pretty much guaranteed.

In Kent, the ‘garden of England’, St Giles Lodge in Tonbridge is close to some glorious countryside, while in Marlow, Peel Lodge is in a wonderful position between the River Thames and the green hills of Buckinghamshire.

Best places to retire in the countryside:

  • Tonbridge
  • Marlow

Something in the city

For many people, retirement is a long-awaited opportunity to soak up the history, arts and culture of our great cities. Not to mention the restaurants and entertainments, with famous shops and good services on your doorstep. A brand new retirement apartment close to a city centre could also mean you won’t need a car – just think what you’ll save in running costs and parking! Buses and trains are plentiful, and there will be community events and activities of all kinds. They say city living keeps you young – and now you’ve got the time to enjoy it!

Close to the city of Birmingham, the Churchill Lodges at Quinton and Shirley are well connected to the incredible amenities of ‘Britain’s Second City’. And the historic city of Bristol is becoming increasingly popular as an affordable alternative to London. Two Churchill Lodges, at Henleaze and Fishponds, are perfectly placed for Bristol’s historic waterfront and the booming arts scene.

Best places to retire to in the city:

  • Birmingham
  • Bristol

Town and country

Throughout the UK, historic market towns can offer the best of both worlds for retirement living – the services, local amenities and thriving shops of a sizeable city, surrounded by easily accessible countryside. Especially in the Midlands and North of England, these prosperous towns have the infrastructure of a busy regional hub – first-rate public services, good road and rail links - and often an historic centre around a river, dockside, castle or cathedral. Shopping centres are still thriving, there are local music, arts and theatre societies and events, and a choice of neighbourhoods with attractive property of all types, including new retirement apartments.

Ludlow in Shropshire has a beautiful castle and, at Betjeman Lodge, a fine selection of apartments by Churchill Retirement Living. East Grinstead in the Weald of West Sussex is another thriving country town with a Churchill development that’s well worth a visit, and Waterlooville in Hampshire also offers the best of town and country retirement living.

Best places to retire to in a town:

  • Ludlow
  • East Grinstead
  • Waterlooville

The bottom line

Of course, it’s all very well choosing your ideal place to retire to, but the real ‘bottom line’ is the cost. We all have a budget, and there’s no point being unrealistic. However, there are certain pluses and minuses that can be balanced out to give you more flexibility of choice than perhaps you first thought.

For example, property may look cheaper in certain parts of the country, or out of town when compared to the centre. But that’s not the end of the story. Heating and energy costs could be lower in a town or city than if you are somewhere remote and exposed. A choice of supermarkets will mean lower prices than if you have to rely on smaller shops. And of course running a car and driving everywhere will cost more than walking or using public transport – which is often subsidised or free for those of a certain age!

Altogether, once you’ve narrowed down your ‘must haves’, ‘nice to haves’, and ‘icing on the cake’ on your list of best places to enjoy your retirement, the choices start to look a lot easier. Wherever you choose, make sure you’re making the most stress-free, easy move you can possibly make - there are experts on hand to help you with every step of the way.

And here’s hoping that it’s the last move you ever make - the move that will see you living happily ever after, for a long and lively retirement in your perfect new home.


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