5 Great British Towns to Retire to

The UK has some of the best places to retire to, here’s our selection of five towns around the country you might want to consider.

Windermere, Cumbria
Property advice
Posted 08 September 2021
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5 Great British Towns to Retire to

Here in the UK we’re lucky enough to have some of the best places to retire to, in particular the many fantastic towns that can be found across the nation’s great counties. In many ways we’re almost spoilt for choice in terms of locations to pick from, so to help make this all a little easier for you, we’ve listed five of the best British towns for retirement. 

Whether you’re already in your golden years and fancy a change of scenery, or you’re coming up to your retirement and need some inspiration, take a look at our selection below:

#5 Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Royal – or simply Tunbridge – Wells is an upmarket town situated in Kent, which is famed for its natural springs, green spaces and fantastic amenities. The town regularly features on ‘best places to live’ lists and is home to a wealth of attractions, notably the iconic Spa Valley Railway. On that note, it also has excellent transport links, with rail connections that can see you to London in just 30 minutes. Plus, there’s the nearby M25. 

5 Best British Towns To Retire To, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Why it’s one of the best places to retire

On top of all of the above, you can enjoy a high quality of life here and you won’t be short on things to see and do with the family. Whether it’s the beautiful Scotney Castle and Gardens or the blue plaque trail that charts some of the town’s famous citizens. You’re also a stone’s throw from everything the South East of England has to offer, like trips out to Canterbury to see the Cathedral, or a visit to the coast and Dover’s famous white cliffs.

If you’re considering this area, take a look at the retirement properties we have for sale and for rent in Kent.

#4 Worthing, West Sussex

Another jewel of the south, Worthing in West Sussex is a popular seaside town that’s as desirable as top coastal locations like Brighton, but without all the hustle and bustle. Alongside the stunning beachfront, nature lovers can revel in having the South Downs on your doorstep. Despite being tucked away, the town is still quite well connected too, so you don’t need to worry about transport and getting around. From direct trains to London and the surrounding area, to the A27, A24 and A23 – there are plenty of transport options.  

Why it’s one of the best places to retire

If you love wining and dining with family and friends, Worthing is also famed for its array of quality places to eat – such as the award-winning seafood restaurant ‘The Crab Shack’. Culturally, there’s also a great deal on offer with many museums, cinemas and art galleries that regularly host events and festivals celebrating the creative talents of famous names. 

You can of course also head further afield into Sussex to see top attractions like the 1066 Battlefield, the Bolney Wine Estate and the other areas of the sprawling beautiful South Downs National Park. 

See our retirement properties for sale in Worthing.

#3 Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Harrogate boasts some of the most beautiful Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the country, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire countryside. It’s by no means a sleepy, quaint spa town though, it’s a sprawling place brimming with excellent amenities, including boutique shops and restaurants, plus plenty of great things to do. 

Another big draw is how well connected it is to the rest of the county and country. It offers direct train and road routes to Leeds, and further afield courtesy of the nearby A1(M). With all this and more, it’s no surprise Harrogate also regularly gets listed in many UK ‘best towns’ polls. 

Why it’s one of the best places to retire

Simply put, Harrogate provides the best of many worlds for those in retirement. Whether you want long walks in the countryside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park or on the town’s famous Stray, you’re covered. Or if you still want a bit of civilisation the town has award-winning restaurants and entertainment venues like the Royal Hall. Furthermore, you can easily hop on a train or bus and be in the city of Leeds in under half an hour. 

All of this makes Harrogate particularly fantastic if you have grandchildren, as there’ll be lots for them to see and do. That said, your family may want to stay after they’ve paid you a visit as the town has some of the UK’s best schools and colleges. 

If you’re interested in moving to Harrogate, check out our retirement properties in North Yorkshire

#2 Poole, Dorset

Poole is one of Dorset’s most desirable places to live and one of the country’s best coastal towns. From the swathes of Blue Flag beaches, to one of the biggest harbours in the country, and all the amenities and attractions you could want on its iconic Quay and Harbour, there’s plenty to justify its appeal. 

Despite its location far down south, it’s another well-connected place to live, offering trains to London and nearby Bournemouth and Southampton. Moreover, Bournemouth has its own airport and the various A roads linking to the town, which offer lots of routes for travelling family and friends.  
Poole Beach

Why it’s one of the best places to retire

In addition to its stunning waterfront, Poole’s warmer-than-average climate can easily make you feel like you’re abroad on the Mediterranean. So in other words, those looking to live like an expat in their retirement will be right at home in this town. Equally, if your family loves hitting the beach, then a good time is guaranteed for all. At the same time, there’s also lots of other top things to see and do - and fans of fine dining in particular can revel in the veritable feast of high-end seafood restaurants by famous chefs, like Rick Stein. 

There’s the added benefit of having the delights of Dorset all around you as well. It’s especially enjoyable for lovers of the great outdoors, as you can explore the picturesque Jurassic Coast or take a short journey to the New Forest or the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Discover our retirement homes for sale and to rent in Poole.

#1 Ambleside, Cumbria

The Lake District itself is home to many scenic towns and villages, but Ambleside really is a cut above the rest. Lying at the top of Lake Windermere, it’s of course a base for then heading out on one of the many hikes that prove popular for tourists and locals alike all year round – but as a town itself, it also has so much more to enjoy. 

Whether it’s the charming architecture of the local buildings, the choice of museums, the array of amenities, restaurants and bars or the quiet serenity of the Cumbrian countryside, it’s a wonderful place to be. While it doesn’t boast the rail or road links of other towns in our list, its winding A road routes in and out of Ambleside are in many ways an asset, with the breath-taking views they include.
Windermere, Cumbria

Why it’s one of the best places to retire

Ambleside is again definitely a top retirement destination for those who enjoy getting outdoors. But as alluded to above, it’s the peacefulness and tranquillity of the town that also make it a top choice for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of busier places. That said, if you have family and friends visiting, you can still find enough to do in the town to keep them entertained, plus there are many historical sites and even National Trust locations to visit all within the immediate areas. 
There’s also a lovely community spirit in Ambleside with many festivals, events and gatherings held all year round by local groups and organisations to celebrate life in the town and its heritage. So if you want to use your retirement as an opportunity to meet likeminded people, there are plenty of opportunities for doing so. 

Discover the luxury retirement properties we have for sale or to rent in Cumbria.

Find your ideal retirement location with McCarthy Stone

The best part about all of the above is that these are only five examples of the many options you have in terms of British retirement locations. However, you can make your later years even better by choosing to spend them in one of these places in a McCarthy Stone property.

We have many luxury retirement apartments to buy or rent available all over the UK, so begin your search today and if you have a particular place in mind, give us a call on 0800 201 4811 and our teams will be able to help find the right new retirement living option for you. 
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