The 12 best places in the UK to retire - is your local area on the list?

Exeter in pictures after being named among best places to retire in UK

New research has identified 12 best places in the nine England regions plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to retire in

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 05/10/2023

- 16:36

A third (36 per cent) of people ready for or approaching retirement have said they have already moved or considered moving as part of their later-life plans, according to research by Which?

Newcastle-under-Lyme, Merton and Wrexham have been named as among the best places to retire.

Consumer champion Which? has analysed the top-scoring local authority for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and each of the nine regions in England to identify some of the greatest areas within them to retire.

Which? surveyed more than 1,000 members to find out what is most important to them when they retire, with healthcare access (88 per cent) topping the list of key factors.

This was followed by green space (75 per cent), then proximity to local leisure activities (31 per cent).

Outer Hebrides in Scotland after being named among best places to retire in UK

The Outer Hebrides in Scotland has been named as one of the best places to retire in the UK


Many also said they would prefer to live somewhere with low crime levels.

Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, said: “Whether you’ve always dreamed of escaping to the countryside or the seaside, the decision of where to retire can be just as important as the decision of when to retire – and our latest research has uncovered gems across the UK that would be great places for retirees to consider.

“The sooner you can start financially preparing for retirement, the better.

“Check your state pension forecast and track down any lost pension pots to get a clearer picture of whether you’re on track. That way you’ll be prepared to make the move if you decide it’s for you.”

Which? gave each local authority a score out of 10 for healthcare, happiness, green space – specifically parks and playing fields – and house price affordability was also considered.

Best places to retire in the UK

The top-scoring locations in each region were:

  • Broxbourne
  • Elmbridge
  • Exeter
  • High Peak
  • Kirklees
  • Merton
  • Mid and East Antrim
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Outer Hebrides
  • South Tyneside
  • Stockport
  • Wrexham
Cushendun in Antrim, Northern Ireland after being named among best places to retire in UK

Mid and East Antrim in Northern Ireland has been named one of the best places to retire in the UK


Which? said Newcastle-under-Lyme was one of the highest-scoring English local authorities for green space, scoring 9.6 out of 10.

It was also rated the joint-happiest English local authority based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), tying with High Peak in the East Midlands.

Its overall score for health and wellbeing is 7.9 according to the ONS.

Furthermore, average house prices in the area are relatively cheap at £180,000.

Merton in South West London also scored highly for both healthcare (9.4/10) and green spaces (9.6/10).

However, the average house price in this area is much pricier at £560,000.

Wrexham, Wales, scored highly for its green spaces (9.1/10), and the average house price in this area is £180,000.

You may like