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The Most Popular Hobbies for Retirees

Freya Wilding

Freya Wilding



Ever wondered what the most popular retirement hobbies are? We’ve done the research to find out. Read on to find out the results!

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

One of the best ways to fill this leisure time is to try a few retirement hobbies. To inspire you and help you find your favourite hobby, we surveyed over 1,500 retirees and asked them to choose their favourites.

The Top Retirement Hobbies Revealed

Below you can see the top eight most popular results from our survey:

Although some of the people we surveyed mentioned that they often tried singing, yoga and genealogy, 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 some of our 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.

Interesting Points from Our Survey…

From our research, we also found a number of interesting pieces of data that show regional differences in hobbies and differences between 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 top hobbies for retirees, 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 weird and wonderful activities in their retirements, including things like:

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

These are all ideal hobbies for after retirement, and the sky’s the limit for the number of things you can try.

The Benefits of Starting a New Hobby in Retirement

No matter which hobby you decide to start, you’ll experience a number of benefits. Firstly, starting a new hobby 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 like-minded people who share your enthusiasm.

Finally, depending on the hobby you choose, 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.

So, a hobby could even help you feel younger in your retirement years, as it could make you stronger, more flexible or more mentally sharp.

Feel Younger with McCarthy & Stone

If you’re interested in feeling younger in your retirement years, then consider moving into a McCarthy & Stone property.

Studies show that moving to a McCarthy & Stone retirement community could leave you feeling 10 years younger

Find a retirement property to rent or buy, we're here to make it happen

† Based on a selection of national well-being criteria such as happiness and life satisfaction, an average person aged 80 feels as good as someone 10 years younger after moving from mainstream housing to housing specially designed for later living.

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