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5 most popular retirement hobbies

We reveal the five most popular retirement hobbies according to our survey of 1,500 retirees. Discover the best retirement hobbies, as voted for by you.

5 most popular retirement hobbies
Hobbies and interests
Posted 02 February 2024
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The 5 most popular hobbies for retirees

We asked 1,500 retirees to tell us what they think are the best retirement hobbies… and the results are in! Take a look at the top five most popular retirement hobbies—voted for by seniors.

What do retirees do all day?

According to the Office for National Statistics, those aged 65 and over spend an average of seven hours and 10 minutes a day on leisure activities. So what do retirees do all day? The answer is so many different things. The 1,500 retired people we asked gave answers that were rich, varied and jam-packed with ideas for exciting hobbies to take up in retirement. That said there were five clear favourites.

The 5 most popular hobbies for retirees

Are you wondering which hobbies to take up in retirement? Be inspired by our top five most popular hobbies for retirees.

Country walks - 57%

Over half of the people surveyed told us that a walk in the countryside is one of the best retirement hobbies out there.

Walking is a great way to keep fit in retirement, while exploring your surroundings and local beauty spots. It can be very sociable too, with groups like the Ramblers offering a natural way to meet new people.

Many of the UK’s best walks are within a short distance of our retirement communities. So, from the Borders to Penzance, you’ll discover plenty of dramatic landscapes to explore—even in the winter months.

A group of four seniors, engrossed in conversation as they walk in nature

Cooking - 39%

From bread-baking to sauerkraut-making, cooking is another one of the best hobbies for retirement. You’ll have more time to experiment and to test your culinary skills.

And it can be sociable too. Host a coffee and cake morning to catch up with old friends (and show off your creations) or, like homeowner Christine, spend quality time baking with your grandchildren. Looking for inspiration? Try our chef and homeowner-sourced recipes.

Arts and crafts - 26%

Whether you paint landscapes like homeowner Peter Ainsworth, craft wreaths at Christmas or knit while you natter, arts and crafts gives you the chance to let your creativity flow and there are options to suit every budget and skill level. That’s why some McCarthy Stone retirement communities have hobby rooms and most offer regular clubs and classes on-site.

A group of seniors learning how to paint, laughing as they go

Wine tasting - 20%

Yep—that’s right! One in five respondents are keen wine tasters—and it’s particularly popular in Bristol, London, Leeds, Edinburgh and Nottingham.

Wine tasting is a brilliant way to make new friends or have fun with old ones while learning a new and very pleasurable skill. You may even be inspired to host a wine and cheese night.

Volunteering/charity work - 16%

Arguably the most rewarding hobby to take up in retirement, 16% of respondents say they regularly volunteer or do charity work. As well as giving back to your local community, volunteering keeps you busy and provides a sense of belonging as well as a warm feeling inside. There’s no doubt this is one of the best retirement hobbies for seniors. Find inspiration on our McCarthy Stone Foundation page.

A senior volunteering for a charity, getting food donation boxes ready for those who need them

Hobbies for retired men and women—is there a difference?

We’ve covered the five most popular retirement hobbies, but are they the same for men and women? The short answer is no. While we’ve outlined the five most popular retirement hobbies overall, favourite hobbies for retired men and women vary quite significantly.

Top four hobbies for retired men:

  • Walking
  • Wine tasting
  • Genealogy
  • Volunteering

Top four hobbies for retired women:

  • Art
  • Crafts
  • Yoga
  • Singing

A senior beekeeping in the countryside

5 alternative hobbies to take up in retirement

You’ve seen the five most popular retirement hobbies, but what about the activities that didn’t make the list?

It’s fair to say that our 1,500 respondents weren’t stuck for things to do in retirement. Here are five whacky (but wonderful) retirement hobbies our retirees had taken up in retirement

  • Beekeeping—taking care of bee colonies and collecting honey
  • Design and illustration—for example graphic design, often using technology
  • Phillumeny—collecting matchboxes and match-related items
  • Amateur radio—also known as Ham radio—sharing messages over radio frequencies
  • Learning a new language—Spanish, French, Japanese—which will you choose?

What are the benefits of hobbies in retirement?

No matter which hobbies you take up in retirement, there are a number of benefits. A retirement hobby will help you to:

Hobbies are central to our McCarthy Stone communities

McCarthy Stone retirement communities provide the perfect base to carry out retirement hobbies with new friends. Our communal facilities soon blossom into social hubs—a hive of informal gatherings and regular clubs and events to suit all interests. Some developments offer arts and craft rooms and sports facilities too. And with options in sought-after locations across the UK, from our retirement villages with bungalows to independent living in an attractive Retirement Living apartment or the added reassurance of Retirement Living PLUS, you’re bound to find the right property for your retirement dreams.

Find a retirement home for sale or rent near you today or call us on 0800 201 4811 to speak with a friendly member of our team.


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