What are the most popular hobbies for retirement?

Retirement give you plenty of time to go out and do the things you love, without the commitments of working life. In wider surveys retired people say that ‘more time for personal activities’ is one of the main benefits of retirement, and the Office for National Statistics has shown that those aged 65+ spent an average of seven hours and ten minutes a day on leisure activities.

Retirement is the perfect time to try a few different retirement hobbies. We surveyed over 1,500 retired people and asked them to choose their favourite retirement hobbies.

The top retirement hobbies revealed 

top retirement hobbies

The top five retirement hobbies 

While singing, yoga and genealogy were popular retirement hobbies we've taken a closer look at the top five. 

Country Walks – 57%

Over half of respondents told us that going walking in the countryside was one of the best retirement hobbies, and we agree. Not only is walking a great way of keeping fit in your retirement, but it’s also a great way of exploring your surroundings, seeing some beautiful sights and taking on challenges.

Some of England’s best walks are within a short distance of our retirement communities and, from the Borders to Penzance, you’ll discover plenty of dramatic landscapes to explore. Even in the cold winter months, you’ll never struggle to find places where you can ramble and soak up the stunning scenery.

Cooking – 39%

Cooking is a popular pastime but, during our working lives, we struggle to make the time. After all, when you’re home from the 9-5, starting a three-hour recipe is usually the last thing on your mind.

But, retirement brings the opportunity to try some new recipes and test your culinary skills. As a result, perhaps it’s no wonder that almost 40% of those we surveyed said that cooking is one of the best retirement hobbies.

Unsure where to start? Try our chef and homeowner-sourced recipes. They’re perfect no matter whether you’re cooking for two or hosting a dinner party.

Arts and Crafts – 26%

Arts and crafts are a great way of expressing yourself and unlocking your imagination. Whether you want to make birthday cards for your friends, craft wreaths at Christmas or even start stitching, there are a number of different arts and crafts you can try.

Many of these are incredibly cheap to start and you may even be able to join a club where you can meet new people.

Wine Tasting – 20%

As we age, we grow even better, just like a fine wine does. Hosting wine and cheese nights is a great way of making new friends in your retirement and starting a new hobby at the same time. You’ll get an appreciation of the different flavours and you might even find a new favourite tipple in the process.


Volunteering/ Charity Work – 16%

Although you may be bored of the 9-5, you may still want to have some structure in your life during your retirement years. For this reason, 16% of the people we surveyed said that they still regularly volunteer or do some charity work.

As well as keeping you busy, volunteering during your retirement can also give you a warm feeling inside, as you’ll be giving back to charity and helping those who are less fortunate. Perhaps it’s no wonder that something so rewarding was considered to be one of the best retirement hobbies.

Regional and gender differences...

Our research also found a number of interesting  regional differences in hobbies and in preferences by gender. For example, we found that retired women prefer arts and crafts, yoga and singing, while men prefer walking, wine tasting, genealogy and volunteering.

Similarly, people from London, Leeds and Nottingham were most likely to choose wine tasting as their favourite hobby, while those in Bristol and Glasgow were more likely to prefer volunteering.

What about something weird and wonderful?

We’ve already listed the the most popular retirement hobbies, but there’s no reason why you can’t try something a little different.

From our survey results, we found that some people are taking up all sorts of interesting activities in retirement, including things like:

  • Beekeeping
  • Design and illustration
  • Phillumeny (collecting different match-related items like matchboxes)
  • Amateur radio
  • Learning a new language

    The sky’s the limit for the number of things you can try.

    The benefits of starting a new retirement hobby

    No matter which hobby you decide to start, you’ll experience a number of benefits. It is a great way of combatting boredom in retirement. Some people struggle with the lack of structure retirement brings, but starting a new hobby is a great way of filling your extra time and bringing some routine to your days.

    Secondly, hobbies are a great way of making new friends in your retirement. Many hobbies are social and you may be able to join a club where you can meet people who share your enthusiasm.

    Finally, it may help you improve your fitness or your co-ordination skills. Walking in the countryside is a great way of improving your fitness without placing too much stress on your joints, while an activity like sewing can help you work on your hand-eye coordination.

    A hobby can keep you stronger, more flexible and sharper - you can find more inspiration here.

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