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Last updated: 29 July 2022

Best Cities for Planning Your Retirement in the UK

What Are the Best Places to Enjoy Your Retirement in the UK?

Many retirees look for the perfect retirement location after reaching the eligible age for pension. The goal of finding the best retirement spot is an important one in the UK, where approximately 25% of the population is over 55 years of age, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It is often a hassle to conclude which city can provide the best environment as it all boils down to finding the most important criterias that are relevant from the point of view of a retiree.

To tackle this challenging subject, Market Inspector has developed a comprehensive scoring system to rank the best cities for retirement in the UK. The list of elements used for this study are summarised below:


green1 to 5Plymouth, Newport, Derby, Sheffield, Norwich
ligt green6 to 15Kingston upon Hull, Preston, Swansea, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Bradford, Coventry, Southampton, Cardiff, Belfast.
yello16 to 25Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Stoke on Trent, Liverpool, Leeds, Portsmouth, London, Leicester, Oxford, Birmingham.
red26 to 30Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Nottingham, Bristol.

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The Top 3 Contenders for the Perfect Retirement Retreat Are Plymouth, Newport, and Derby

Our research reveals these cities score high on counts of having an active social life as a retiree. Plymouth gets the highest score for being relatively safe in terms of number of crimes reported and overall well-being in terms of high score on happiness index. Although these cities bank plenty of annual sunshine hours, they come on top largely due to being budget friendly when it comes to transportation and rental costs.

Large Cities Have a High Crime Rate and Score Low on Access to Care and Environment

We also find highly populated cities like Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, and London are adversely affected by higher crime rates and bad air quality. As this naturally increases the medical attention people in these cities would usually require, the problem further worsens when three of these cities have lower than average number of health related services per thousand inhabitants.

Bristol, Nottingham, and Aberdeen rank as the worst cities to retire. Overall they are faced with a high crime rate and a relative high cost of living.


In our research, we consider cities over 100,000 inhabitants and carefully exclude all the towns and metropolitan boroughs.

The cities have been ranked according to eight different criteria as defined below.

Access to social lifePercentage of population over 55 years of age.ONS 
SafetyAnnual crimes reported per 1000 inhabitants.UK Crime Stats
Living CostMonthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the centre of the city.Numbeo 
Access to careNumber of health related services per 1000 inhabitants.CQC 
Transportation costCost of monthly transportation pass per person.Numbeo 
Cultural OfferingsNumber of museums, galleries, theatres and churches. GenUKIArts Council 
Environment Average value of air quality index, annual sunshine hours and distance to the closest national park.AQICNMet Office
HappinessIndex value measuring overall well being based on annual population survey. ONS


For each metric, a city can score a maximum of 125 points. Therefore, in our ranking system, a city can score a maximum of 1,000  points.

Along with measures like safety and crime, we included qualitative factors like environment and happiness, which gives a complete overview of a city’s suitability from the point of view of a retiree.


The following dataset used in this study gives a complete picture of the core metrics used to obtain the final results.

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In conclusion, our study finds ideal retirement hubs to be dispersed across multiple regions and having a competitive advantage in many important factors. At the same time, the high population density and the derived problems, such as higher costs of living, more pressure on social services, and poor air quality, reduced the attractiveness of major cities.

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