Would you retreat to the Outer Hebrides? List of ‘perfect’ places for later life revealed – with some surprising areas

A list of the best ‘perfect’ retirement spots in the UK has been published – and there are some surprising names on the list.

The typical retirement destination in most people’s eyes is a seaside town like Bournemouth.

Instead, a new ranking system has calculated that regions such as the Outer Hebrides, Exeter and Kirklees are the best places to retire when all pensioners’ needs are taken into account.

Consumer group Which one? has taken retirees’ wish lists for where they will live in their future lives and put together its own grouping of the 12 best places to stay in your golden years.

It's coming in waves: Many retirees are choosing to live in coastal cities, but new analysis shows that may not tick all the boxes when it comes to retirement needs

It’s coming in waves: Many retirees are choosing to live in coastal cities, but new analysis shows that may not tick all the boxes when it comes to retirement needs

The 1,000 people surveyed said access to health care was the most important factor in what they wanted in a retirement location, with 88 percent making it a priority.

Priorities followed health care, access to green spaces (75 percent) and local recreational activities (31 percent), as well as low crime, affordable housing and resident satisfaction.

The consumer group then used this list to identify the top local authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as hotspots for each of England’s nine regions.

Twelve locations, one for each region, were identified as the best areas for retirement.

The highest ratings were given to Broxbourne, Elmbridge, Exeter, High Peak, Kirklees, Merton, Mid and East Antrim, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Outer Hebrides, South Tyneside, Stockport and Wrexham.

Which? found that more than a third (36 percent) of people approaching retirement age want to move or have already done so.


Newcastle-under-Lyme was one of the highest rated English local authorities for green spaces, scoring 9.6 out of 10.

The area is home to 7.4 parks and playing fields within an average 1 kilometer radius of a given property.

Based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it was also ranked as by far the happiest local authority in England, level with High Peak in the East Midlands.

Average property prices in the area are also at the cheaper end of the spectrum at £180,000. Popular nearby attractions include the New Vic Theatre, Brampton Museum and Apedale Heritage Centre.

Another popular area in England was Merton, in south-west London. Both healthcare (9.4/10) and abundance of green spaces (9.6/10) scored well. Pensioners in this area would only have to drive 600 meters to the nearest family doctor or pharmacy.

Attractive green spaces in the area include Wimbledon Park and the National Trust site Morden Hall Park.

The area is known for hosting the Wimbledon tennis tournament every year and has numerous shops and top-notch restaurants. However, the average house price in Merton is £560,000.

In Wales, the Wrexham district came out on top.

The region scored particularly well for its green spaces (9.1/10), with an average of 4.8 within one kilometer. It also has areas of natural beauty such as parts of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, extensive woodland, open fields and moorland and Chirk Castle.

Those looking to buy in the area will be pleased to know that the average house price is £180,000.

In Northern Ireland, Mid and East Antrim came out on top, receiving the highest rating for healthcare with 10 out of 10. The region offers a good safety net for retirees, with 81 operations performed for every 100,000 registered patients. Additionally, the average house price is relatively low at £139,000.


Famous for its stunning coastlines, the Outer Hebrides top the list of retirement destinations in Scotland, scoring some of the highest scores for healthcare (9.7/10) and happiness (8/10).

Which? found that in the Outer Hebrides there were five GP practices per 10,000 people, according to ONS data, as well as impressive health and wellbeing scores.

It also has the cheapest average house price of all the top 12 locations at £137,000.

For those looking for a place to retire in mainland Scotland, Which? found the Highlands region to be another good option, with 8.8 out of 10 for healthcare and 7.8 out of 10 for happiness.

Which? Money editor Jenny Ross said: “Whether you’ve always dreamed of escaping to the country or the sea, deciding where to retire can be just as important as deciding when to retire – and our latest Research has discovered pearls all over the world.” “The UK would be a great place for retirees to consider.”

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click, we may receive a small commission. This helps us finance This Is Money and keep it free to use. We don’t write articles to promote products. We will not allow a commercial relationship to compromise our editorial independence.

Drew Weisholtz

Drew Weisholtz is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Drew Weisholtz joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: DrewWeisholtz@worldtimetodays.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button