These are the best places to live in England and Wales for the over-50s

Looking for a home closer to loved ones, or are you after a change of scenery for retirement? Find the perfect house hotspot for you.

A change of pace, being closer to family, or, perhaps, fulfilling a life-long dream… whatever our reasons for moving home, we all want to be sure that a new dwelling has everything we’re looking for. And, most importantly, that it’s in the right location.

Everything from how safe the area is, to the local amenities, community spirit and, of course, affordability, play a role in choosing where to live. So our analysis team put 43 regions across England and Wales to the test to find out which areas offer the best experience for over-50s.

Each region was scored on criteria that have been shown to be important to the over-50s, and given a percentage based on how they ranked across safety, average house prices, square miles per pub, attractions and demographics, to help find that perfect location.

Map of the best places to live in the UK for over 50sCredit: Anything But Grey

The top three

Our ultimate hotspots for the over-50s

Based on a range of criteria, including crime rates, things to do and pubs per square mile (because who wants to cook every night?), these areas are our first, second and third choice for any over-50s looking to relocate.

The village of Fowey in CornwallCredit: Traveller 70/Shutterstock
Once home to author Daphne du Maurier, the beautiful coastal resort of Fowey in Cornwall is a stunning year-round location that inspired her most famous novels

1. Devon and Cornwall – 79.8% suitability rating

Devon and Cornwall came out as the best overall place to live if you’re over 50. The coastal resorts in these counties are among the safest places in the country, and the beautiful landscape is home to hundreds of pubs and local attractions, from the Eden Project to Dartmoor.

2. Merseyside – 73.5% suitability rating

Second place was awarded to Merseyside. Liverpool has been dubbed “The World in One City” and is still clearly living up to that name, with its wide variety of things to do and pubs to drink in.

3. North Wales – 70.3% suitability rating

Not far from second placed Merseyside, North Wales is the highest-ranking Welsh region, with affordable housing and plenty to do; it’s a great place to relocate to.

The safest places to live

Burglaries are less likely in this trio of locations

Not surprisingly, more rural locations top our list of those with lower burglary rates, compared to the national average of 6.4 burglaries per 1,000 households.

A beautiful cobbled street in the historic town of Rye in East SussexCredit: Helen Hotson/Shutterstock
A beautiful cobbled street in the historic town of Rye in East Sussex

1. Sussex – 0.35 burglaries per 1,000 households

If you’re worried about the security of your home, then Sussex is a great place to start your relocation journey, as your dwelling is more than ten times less likely to be burgled than average in England and Wales.

2. Norfolk – just under two burglaries per 1,000 households

In East Anglia, Norfolk is considered to be one of the safest places you can live, with fewer than two in every thousand households reporting a burglary across our analysis window.

3. Devon and Cornwall – two burglaries per 1,000 households

The overall best place to live also comes in as the third safest, with three times fewer burglaries than the national average.

The most affordable places to live

Your budget will stretch further in these areas

Not quite ready to downsize? Then head to Cleveland, Durham or Lincolnshire to get more house for your money. Their figures compare favourably to a national average detached house price of £398,682.

Durham Castle and Cathedral on their rock above the city, and Framwellgate Bridge spanning the River Wear, England, UKCredit: Travellight/Shutterstock
You might not get the castle… but you’ll certainly get a lot of house for your money in the Durham area

1. Cleveland – £294,128

In the northeast England, detached homes are more affordable than in most other areas of the country, costing just shy of £300,000. The former county of Cleveland, which includes Teesside, is an excellent place to live for walkers, as it has an abundance of hills and dales.

2. Durham – £300,363

With the average detached house coming in just over £300,000, County Durham is a good option. And for those looking for a residence in a city steeped in history, the city of Durham itself is famed for its Norman cathedral and castle.

3. Lincolnshire – £330,124

With the average detached house setting you back just over £330,000, Lincolnshire offers a lot for your money. The second largest county in England is home to the Lincoln Aviation Heritage Centre and an impressive cathedral in the county town.

The places with the most pubs

Love your ale? Set your sights on these locations

Though numbers are sadly in decline, the local pub still represents the centre of the community for many of us. Far more than just a spot for a sup of ale, pubs are often the place to find out about (and socialise with) local sports teams, rambling groups and charity fundraising committees.

And most decent pubs will hold a good quiz night or karaoke session once in a while…

Penny Lane historical pub in LiverpoolCredit: meunierd/Shutterstock
Liverpool is famous for its nightlife – not surprisingly, many bars and pubs have a Beatles theme

1. City of London – 0(!) square miles per pub

It is no surprise that the City of London comes in at first place for having a high density of pubs in a small area. You hardly need to leave your home to stumble upon a good London boozer.

2. Merseyside – 0.22 square miles per pub

In northwest England, Liverpool is widely regarded as a great place to grab a pint or a cheeky gin and tonic. And with such a small distance between pubs, it’s not much of a surprise as to why.

3. West Midlands – 0.22 square miles per pub

The largest city in the West Midlands, Birmingham matches Merseyside for its short distances between pubs – meaning you have lots of options for a sociable pint with friends.

The places with the most things to do

Keep busy in these entertainment hubs

You’ll never be stuck for ideas for day trips and nights out in these areas. They compare to a national average of 396 things to do rated 5/5 according to TripAdvisor.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20, 2017: Skyline panorama of river Thames with London eye and Big BenCredit: Shutterstock/Pajor Pawel
As Samuel Johnson once said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford”

1. Greater London – 2,000 things to do

Unsurprisingly, Greater London came out on top, with 2,000 things to do. It really does have something for everyone, from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew to a wide variety of theatres, museums, shops and more.

2. Devon and Cornwall – 1,561 things to do

Popular retreats for weekends away, the counties of Devon and Cornwall prove to be great places for things to do. Fistral Beach in Newquay has gained a reputation for being an excellent surfing spot, while it would be remiss to not visit Padstow, Exmouth and Salcombe.

3. Merseyside – 923 things to do

Along with pubs, Merseyside is a place with plenty to do. The region has more than double the national average when it comes to visitor attractions. As the home of the one of the most iconic bands, you should take a trip to the Beatles Story museum and have a stroll around Albert Dock.

The places with the highest average age

Hang out with more people your own age in these counties

If you’re keen to make friends with people your own age (although we’re keen to stress it “ain’t nothing but a number”), try these areas for size. Incidentally, the national average age of the population is 43.7.

1. Dorset – 51.6

A bustling community for those over 50, the average age in Dorset is 51. This picturesque region is also home to the iconic Durdle Door.

2. Dyfed-Powys – 50.7

The only other area where the average age is over 50, Dyfed-Powys has an average age of 50.7, providing a perfect place for Saga Exceptional readers to make friends.

3. Northumberland – 48.9

Northumberland has an average age of 48.9 and comes in at third place. Containing the National Trust site of Cragside, the county is a great place to live if you’re over 50.

The scores in full

The best places to live in England and Wales, ranked

See how your potential new location fares in our survey.

Rank Area Average detached house price Sq miles per pub Things to do Average age Burglary stats Overall suitability
1 Devon & Cornwall £389,375 2.26 1,561 47.9 2.00 79.8%
2 Merseyside £400,475 0.22 923 40.9 4.41 73.5%
3 North Wales £339,937 2.75 569 46.45 2.55 70.3%
4 North Yorkshire £448,144 2.26 715 48.5 2.94 70.1%
5 West Yorkshire £402,603 0.43 601 38.5 6.28 69.5%
6 South Wales £399,193 0.79 467 42.3 2.93 69.2%
7 Avon & Somerset £476,782 1.14 607 47.3 5.51 69.2%
8 Lancashire £349,468 0.87 440 42.8 5.76 68.6%
9 Derbyshire £365,897 0.95 257 45.8 4.07 68.6%
10 Nottinghamshire £366,971 0.96 338 43.9 5.91 68.0%
11 Greater London £1,323,417 0.28 2,000 37.8 8.82 68.0%
12 South Yorkshire £337,838 0.59 294 40.1 8.19 67.7%
13 Cumbria £392,740 3.42 475 48.0 2.75 67.6%
14 Lincolnshire £330,124 2.70 323 45.9 3.92 67.5%
15 Durham £300,363 1.36 80 44.1 4.33 67.3%
16 Staffordshire £367,470 1.04 226 44.9 5.50 67.3%
17 Kent £669,294 1.03 918 42.3 4.88 66.9%
18 West Mercia £472,308 2.08 460 47.5 3.66 66.7%
19 West Midlands £450,411 0.22 497 36.9 9.84 66.5%
20 Cheshire £505,150 0.97 357 44.7 4.16 65.7%
21 Norfolk £433,360 2.81 378 46 1.99 65.7%
22 Dorset £619,526 1.71 448 51.6 6.39 65.3%
23 Leicestershire £430,522 1.47 204 43.1 7.48 64.4%
24 Hampshire £670,924 1.36 534 44.2 5.99 64.0%
25 Suffolk £485,164 2.34 257 45.4 2.38 63.5%
26 Dyfed-Powys £354,054 5.22 97 50.7 2.35 63.1%
27 Humberside £359,947 2.44 162 40.7 6.00 63.0%
28 Essex £629,969 1.39 390 42.6 4.84 62.2%
29 Gwent £416,781 1.53 9 43.2 36.54 61.9%
30 Northamptonshire £455,473 1.99 184 40.5 4.08 61.8%
31 Wiltshire £527,723 2.31 219 44.6 3.8 61.6%
32 Warwickshire £555,609 1.41 170 42.7 3.52 61.5%
33 Sussex £751,079 1.13 6 45.6 0.35 60.8%
34 Gloucestershire £578,965 1.54 79 44.2 4.32 60.4%
35 Cambridgeshire £511,173 2.82 265 40.7 4.41 60.1%
36 Bedfordshire £554,706 1.37 109 41 5.05 59.8%
37 Northumberland £408,679 6.32 189 48.9 5.36 59.0%
38 Thames Valley £781,301 1.27 370 41.8 4.75 59.0%
39 Surrey £1,089,860 0.94 297 42.4 2.80 54.2%
40 Hertfordshire £982,834 0.86 228 40.5 2.89 53.8%
41 City of London £1,018,724 0.00 76 37.2 11.63 51.8%
42 Greater Manchester £542,392 0.24 202 37.6 9.03 48.7%
43 Cleveland £294,128 31.67 9 46.2 40.00 35.6%

Methodology

To establish the best places to live, Saga Exceptional judged regions based on a variety of factors.

  • Saga Exceptional submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests to obtain the number of domestic burglaries in each area. These stats were then compared to number of households in the area to give a figure of number of houses per burglary. Housing population stats were sourced from the ONS.
  • The average age of each area was sourced from Varbes.com.
  • By investigating Rightmove and Zoopla, we found the average price of a detached house in each area.
  • Data from the places with the most pubs was captured from Pubs Galore.
  • Data on things to do was taken from TripAdvisor. Only attractions with a rating of 5/5 were considered in the research.
Amy Cutmore

Written by Amy Cutmore she/her

Updated:

Amy Cutmore has been writing about interiors for more than 20 years, harking back to the days when glossy red kitchens, toile de Jouy and rag rugs were all the rage, and everyone wanted a Changing Rooms makeover. You’ll have seen Amy’s work at Britain’s biggest homes titles, including Ideal Home, where she served as Consumer, Technology and Group Digital Editor. She has also edited or written for Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Inside Readers’ Homes, Inspirations for Your Home, Country House & Home, Top Ten Reviews, Trusted Reviews and Country Life.

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