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Where are the best places in the UK for older people to live?

As we get older, choosing somewhere to live comes with new priorities, with influences such as access to green spaces, quality of elderly care, ambulance wait times and even - maybe - where you can get hold of a decent fish and chips.

To help inform your decision, we’ve analysed the best towns and cities from across the UK based on some of the things that are most important to the older generation.

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Where are the best places in the UK for older people to live?

Best places to retire in UK 2022

We’ve identified the best places for older people to live in the UK, evaluating a range of cost, health and life-style related factors.

Tynemouth is best city for elderly care

Tynemouth

Best city for elderly care
The city scored 77/100 across various cost, health and lifestyle factors

Llandudno is best retirement town for older people

Llandudno

Best retirement town for older people
The town scored 53/100 across various cost, health and lifestyle factors

Brighton is best place for older people in numbers with a third of the population is aged 65+

Brighton

Best for older people in numbers
A third of the population is aged 65+

Hull is best for cheap retirement properties

Hull

Best for cheap retirement properties
Average property price is
less than £140,000

Ilframcombe is best for quality of care

Ilfracombe

Best for quality of care
All 20 care homes within 10 miles have a CQC rating of Good or above

lymington is best for longer life / life expectancy

Lymington

Best for longer life
Average life expectancy is 85 for men and 87 for women vs. national average of 81

Edinburgh is best for fish and chips

Edinburgh

Best for fish and chips
The city has more than 235 venues offering the dish

Glossop is best market town to retire to

Glossop

Best market town to retire to
The town scored 52/100 across various cost, health and lifestyle factors

  • Best towns and cities for cost of care
  • Best towns and cities for elderly care
  • Best retirement towns and cities
  • Best UK market towns to retire
  • Best UK coastal towns to retire

Best towns and cities for cost of care

We’ve considered several factors when considering the cost of care, including affordability of residential care and nursing care based on house capital and pension pots, to identify the best cities and towns for older people requiring care.

Best towns and cities for elderly care

We’ve considered several factors, including elderly population, cost of care, average life expectancy, quality of care provision and ambulance wait times to identify the best city for older people requiring care.

Best retirement towns and cities

Retirement signals a time for slowing down and enjoying the small things. But as we get older, there are important factors to be considered to ensure that you can live at home independently and safely for longer.

 We’ve analysed the top cities and retirement locations in the UK based on a number of lifestyle factors including average life expectancy, the percentage of population aged 65+, house prices, average care costs, availability of care and an overall lifestyle score.

Lifestyle scores are based on how many green spaces, English heritage sites, bingo halls and fish & chip shops are in the area and number of Instagram posts tagged with the area location.  

Best UK market towns to retire

We’ve considered several factors, including average life expectancy, care home costs and lifestyle to identify the best market towns for older people to retire.

Best UK coastal towns to retire

We’ve considered several factors, including average life expectancy, care home costs and lifestyle to identify the best coastal towns for older people to retire.

Best cities for retirement in the UK

London tops list of cities for cost of care

High average property prices and house deposits means older adults living in London, Wetherby and Cambridge may have more capital to pay towards care costs.

By comparison, Southampton, Hull and Stoke-on-Trent, are ranked towards the bottom with lower property prices meaning older adults have less capital to pay for residential or nursing care costs.

Whilst people living in London can use their house capital to pay on average for 17.8 years of residential care and 14.6 years of nursing care, the average in Stoke-on-Trent is just 4.7 years of residential care and 3.1 years of nursing care.

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Best cities for elderly care

Tynemouth ranked number one for elderly care

The North East town of Tynemouth has come out on top in terms of best provision of elderly care.

With yearly care cost averaging out at around £31,000, the town offers more affordable options for older people needing additional support. Boasting almost 200 care homes, 90% of which have a CQC rating of Good or higher and a care home to elderly person ratio of 1:71, Tynemouth is a promising location for anyone considering elderly care.

 

Coming out in last position for elderly care is Coventry.

The city offers affordable care but its care home to elderly population ratio is 1:389. With just 71% of care homes in the city having a CQC rating of Good or higher, the city received the lowest score for quality of care.   

*Data analysis conducted for cities and towns in England

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Best cities for retirement in the UK

Llandudno tops list of best retirement locations

The seaside town of Llandudno, Wales has ranked in the top spot for best retirement destinations in the UK.

With average life expectancy for the town sitting at 85 – four years above the national average – and plenty of outdoor space to help people stay active, as well as an abundance of bingo halls and fish and chip restaurants.

 

By comparison, Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, came out in last place, with an average life expectancy of 79 and an overall lifestyle score of 3.8/10.

Annual care costs in the city average out at almost £40,000 with just one care home for every 778 elderly person.  

*Data analysis conducted for cities and towns in England, Scotland and Wales

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Best retirement cities UK

Glossop tops list of best market towns to retire to

Glossop reflects the legacy of Victorian industrialists, as well as beautiful nonconformist chapels and libraries. It has the second cheapest average house prices
in the UK and the highest number of Instagram hashtags of any UK market town.  

Ramsbottom is second on the list and is a hybrid of contemporary and traditional lifestyles, packed with independent businesses, award-winning restaurants and an impressive variety of pubs.

Ramsbottom ranks as the cheapest average annual care home costs and the highest ratio of care homes to elderly people, making it the ideal location for senior citizens looking to retire. It also has the highest number of green spaces, the highest number of bingo halls and the highest number of fish and chip shops. 

Saffron Walden is the ideal location for those looking to retire. The sleepy town features old homes with ornate architecture, with many houses being close to the town centre, making it accessible for everyone. Saffron Walden has the highest average life expectancy of any UK market town and the highest
percentage of the population aged 65+.

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Best places to retire in the UK

Llandudno tops list of best coastal towns to retire to

The Welsh seaside town of Llandudno is notorious for its sweeping bay and Victorian seafront architecture. With stunning architecture and picturesque coastal views, it’s no wonder Llandudno ranked as second highest for number of hashtags on Instagram.

Southport is a quintessential seaside town, Southport sports a beautiful and expansive coastline boarded by the Irish sea.

Southport not only has the cheapest average house prices and the cheapest annual cost of care, but also the second highest number of bingo halls in the UK. With award-winning beaches and tranquil woodland, Southport is the picture-perfect escape for retirees. 

Not only is Tynemouth a scenic spot, but it’s also very practical. Faultlessly well-connected, with regular Metro trains to Newcastle city centre, making it attractive to young couples and downsizers craving community spirit.

Tynemouth is home to the highest ratio of care homes to elderly people, as well as the highest number of bingo halls, the highest number of English heritage properties and the highest number of fish and chip shops.

Download the infographic

How to maintain independence after retirement

As we get older, we may need a little support to help us remain safe and independent.

A monitored personal alarm with 24-hour emergency resolution from Taking Care provides reassurance that help is available in any emergency, including falls or medical situations.

Personal alarms for the home and out-and-about

Have the freedom to maintain an active lifestyle, with reassurance help is available wherever you are. 

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What makes these locations the best places to retire in the UK 2022

The UK has many picturesque towns, rich in culture and community, that would be ideal for retirees looking for a change of lifestyle.

We have calculated which are the top 10 best places to retire in the UK overall, based on a number of environmental factors, including the population of over 65s, quality of care homes in the area, ambulance wait times, number of chip shops, bingo halls and green spaces, and number of Instagram hashtags.

1. Llandudno

The Welsh seaside town of Llandudno is notorious for its sweeping bay, Victorian
seafront architecture and is most notably known for having the longest pier in the country.

Every year, many tourists escape to the seaside resort to relax and soak up the culture of the sea, countryside and countless castles.
Llandudno’s appearance has remained largely untouched for over a century and is renowned for having the longest pier in the country.

Llandudno is easily accessible for many, with regular buses and bus stops dotted all around the town and a train station slap-bang in the centre with connections to most areas across the coast. Llandudno is located near the Snowdonia National Park, which offers tourists many walks and breath-taking views. Llandudno ranks highly with its stunning architecture and picturesque coastal views.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder Llandudno ranked at second highest for number of hashtags on Instagram.

2. Glossop

The bustling market town of Glossop is situated within the spectacular surroundings of the High Peak of Derbyshire.

Close to the boundary of the Peak District National Park, Glossop is a popular tourist spot and a favourite among walkers due to its scenic moorland setting and wealth of history. The town is formed of a cluster of small villages, chapels, worker’s cottages and scenic structural remains.

The Guardian describes Glossop as a ‘former mill town upon which fortune has smiled, not sneered’. To this day, Glossop reflects legacy of Victorian industrialists, as well as beautiful nonconformist chapels and libraries. The town is proud to hold a rich and diverse creative community and is highly praised for its live music scene and artistic flair.

Glossop ranks as the second cheapest average house prices in the UK and has the highest number of Instagram hashtags of any UK market town. 

3. Southport

As a quintessential seaside town, Southport sports 22 miles of beautiful coastline boarded by the Irish sea. Southport beach counterbalances the hustle and bustle of the town centre, with its open spaces, coastal views and historical iron pier on the seafront.

Southport is active with wildlife, with miles of stretching sands providing the perfect habitat for many species of wading birds. Southport holds a reputation for having a large elderly community, making it the ideal spot for retirement. It not only has the cheapest average house prices and the cheapest annual cost of care, but also the second highest number of bingo halls in the UK.

Southport has always been a glamorous destination and popular resort for well-to-do holidaymakers during the 1930s. The town also hosts a glorious annual flower show and some of the finest golf courses in the country. With award-winning beaches, tranquil forestland, Southport is the picture-perfect escape for retirees who can afford it.

4. Ramsbottom

The leafy market town of Ramsbottom is a hybrid of contemporary and traditional lifestyles, jam-packed with independent businesses, award-winning restaurants and an impressive variety of pubs.

Located on the edge of the West Pennine Moors, Ramsbottom not only boasts beautiful wild scenery, but is famous for its cricket, football and music scene. Ramsbottom is home to a number of independent gift shops, homeware, local artwork, vintage treasures and designer clothing boutiques, plus a farmers’ market on the second Sunday of every month.

There’s a variety of Victorian stone townhouses, semis and terraces lining the outskirts of the town, as well as old weavers’ cottages and cosy farmhouses further out. Ramsbottom ranks as the cheapest average annual care home costs and the highest ratio of care homes to elderly people, making it the ideal location for senior citizens looking to retire. It also has the highest number of green spaces, the highest number of bingo halls and the highest number of fish and chip shops.

5. Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden has a welcoming sense of community spirit. The Essex market town has a fantastic cricket club, rugby club and hockey club, all of which put on regular matches that have established a great social scene.

The sleepy town features old homes with ornate architecture, with many houses close to the town centre, making it accessible for everyone. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the town hums with activity as the market opens, hosted by more than 60 artisan stallholders all selling local produce. The town is home to the world-famous Audley End House & Gardens, an English Heritage with acres of parkland, a lake, a miniature railway for children and special days out for the family, as well as open-air cinema screenings and concerts in the summer months.

Saffron Walden has the highest average life expectancy of any UK market town and the highest percentage of population aged 65+. With its relaxed, tranquil feel and laid-back atmosphere, Saffron Walden is the ideal location for those looking to retire.

6. Tynemouth

Tynemouth has proudly been named as one of the best places to live both nationally and regionally in countless surveys, with The Sunday Times including it on its annual list of the top 70
locations representing the best of the best in the UK. The coastal town has three sandy beaches and has played host to the National Surfing Championships.

Not only is Tynemouth a scenic spot, it’s also very practical. Faultlessly well-connected, with regular Metro trains to Newcastle city centre, making it as attractive to young couples and downsizers craving community spirit. Around the castle lies delightful 17th and 18th century cottages. It gets more seaside beyond, with parades of Victorian townhouses on the seafront.

Tynemouth is home to the highest ratio of care homes to elderly people, as well as the highest number of bingo halls, highest number of English heritage properties and highest number of fish and chip shops.

7. Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe is a popular holiday town on the North Devon coast, with rugged cliffs, winding country paths, bespoke independent shops and a bustling harbour.

Ilfracombe began its legacy as a small fishing village but was quickly popularised as a beach resort during the Victorian era. For those who aren’t a fan of the sand and sea, there is also a great deal of towns, villages and green spaces to enjoy evenings or weekend strolls. The hills and valleys are bejewelled with authentic Victorian town houses, villas, terraces and cottages, crowning Ilfracombe as the highest number of green spaces and the second highest number of English heritage properties in the UK. The Guardian rates Ilfracombe’s market value as “seriously good, old-school value”. 

In one study carried out by Which? readers, more than 4,000 people ranked 100 seaside towns and villages across the UK, with Ilfracombe being ranked second in the ‘nation’s top 21 locations an accompanying hidden gems’ list.

8. Bradford

Aflush with culture and vibrancy,
Bradford is situated within the Yorkshire countryside. Although its surrounding cities are more well-known, Bradford is the third largest city in Yorkshire and has a fascinating history that dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era.

Renowned for its attractive and affordable properties, Bradford boasts a competitive average house price of just £144,114, significantly less than neighbouring cities Leeds and York. The city is home to olde worlde architecture, each with its own story and significant place in history. For a country walk or long hike, locals can wander down to Ilkley Moor - just a short distance away from the town.

Accent Housing has a range of affordable homes available in Bradford, including sheltered accommodation and independent living schemes for people aged 55+, making it the ideal location for those looking to retire to a new and affordable lifestyle.

Over the years, Bradford has undergone some major developments to enhance what has become a thriving arts and culture scene, now with a rich variety of theatres, galleries and annual art festivals.

9. Falmouth

Full of character and charm, Falmouth sits at the heart of Cornwall with golden sands, inviting waters, a 16th century castle and reliable transportation links.

With locals branding the town as ‘Falifornia’, Falmouth offers the serenity of a coastal lifestyle with the benefit of being in a large town with amenities and period properties. It’s still possible to pick up a terraced property for less than £300,000, making Falmouth an affordable location for many. Falmouth holds a cheery community, and quirky streets, all brightly painted. The town centre is full of artisan retailers that cater to most needs.

The beaches, eateries and colourful programme of festivals have all earned Falmouth a spot in The Sunday Times Best
Places to Live poll. Falmouth is notable for its many glorious parks and green spaces - some of which have won accolades in the Britain in Bloom awards over the years. Unsurprisingly, Falmouth has the second highest number of green spaces in the UK.

10. Alresford

The enchanting market town of Alresford attracts many visitors every year on behalf of its eclectic range of independent shops, strong local community and beautiful setting - located on the cusp of the South Downs National Park.

Sitting in the heart of Hampshire, Arelsford is a postcard-perfect location for the outdoorsy type with its clear streams and alluring country walks that may lead to a rustic country pub or two. Abundant in brick cottages and country gardens, Alresford has the highest number of English heritage properties of any
UK market town, as well as the highest life expectancy in women aged 65+.

Alresford also has the second highest average life expectancy in the area and the second highest percentage of the population aged 65+.

Alresford features plenty of 20th century developments with quiet closes and cul-de-sacs of family homes – making it the ideal location for people of all generations to relocate to.

Cheapest place to retire to: Wetherby

Although it didn’t make it into the top ten list, Wetherby is still a strong contender for those looking for an affordable place to retire. A small market town atmosphere with big city connections, Wetherby provides striking scenery in an area of great natural beauty, with an expanding range of amenities, from boutique shops to bingo halls to fish and chip shops.

A small market town atmosphere with big city connections, Wetherby is a suitable location for almost anyone. Wetherby provides striking scenery in an area of great natural beauty, with an expanding range of boutique shops and high number of bingo halls and fish and chip shops.


A stone’s throw away from
the town lies luscious countryside, brimming with picturesque villages. As is
the case with many Yorkshire market towns, Wetherby offers an excellent food and drink culture, with a variety of pubs and bars to choose from, ideal for pub grub, a quiet afternoon drink or a Friday night out. Being a small town, Wetherby has a fantastic sense of community, where residents are known by local pub and shop owners, as well as other visitors.

Wetherby is full of character, history and many different housing options. It has the second cheapest average annual care home costs of any market town in the UK and the second highest ratio of care homes to elderly people.

Best place to retire to for long life: Lymington

Lymington also deserves a worthy mention in our list of best retirement destinations outside of the top ten. Nestled between forest and sea, this stylish seaside town boasts the highest average life expectancy of residents in the UK, as well as the highest population aged over 65 for both men and women.

As well as a lovely long life, Lymington also boasts dazzling aesthetics, with Georgian buildings dominating the high street and cobbled roads winding down to the Old Town Quay. The small town also offers a higher than average number of green spaces, an excellent range of facilities and a strong community feel, making it a strong contender for the best retirement towns list. In June last year, the Telegraph labelled Lymington a ‘booming town that provides residents of any age the best quality of life’.

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Methodology

Below are the sources of data used to compile this report.

Elderly population percentage

ONS

Life expectancy for local areas of the UK: between 2001 to 2003 and 2018 to 2020.

Life expectancy per area

ONS

Subnational trends in the average number of years people will live beyond their current age measured by “period life expectancy”.

Cost of residential care

Lang Buisson report

Annual survey of UK Local Authority costs.

Number of care homes per area

Care Sourcer

Elderly care in your area (care homes and home care).

Care homes rated "Good" or above

Care Quality Commision (CQC) score

Percentage of care homes rated Good or higher in a 10 mile radius .

Ambulance wait times

AQI

Based on wait times for Category 3 (non-emergency) call outs.

Number of care providers offering at-home care

Care Sourcer

Elderly care in your area (care homes and home care).

Average house price

Rightmove

Based on Rightmove’s “recently sold” data.

Number of green spaces

Trip Advisor

Based on outdoor “Things to do” per town/city.

Number of bingo halls

BuzzBingo

Taken within a 10-mile radius of centre.

Number of fish and chip shops

Trip Advisor

Venues offering fish and chips as a mile within a 10-mile radius.

English Heritage sites

English Heritage.org

Taken within a 10-mile radius.

Lifestyle score

Overall lifestyle score based on average score for number of green spaces, English heritage sites, fish and chip shops and bingo halls. Score is weighted from 00, with 100 being the highest score.

The "Best Places in the UK for Older People to Live" has been created by Taking Care

If you liked this, you might also like the articles and guides in our Resources and Advice.

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