We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we’ll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.


Where to spend your golden years of retirement

Share this article

Retiring is a reoccurring topic at the moment, as the age of retirement steadily increases and questions as to whether the state pension is enough to live on. However, where you retire can play a vital part in your health and happiness. We recently commissioned the Voice of New Retirement report, to find out what aspects make for a happy retirement and here’s what we found:

  Top Regions for Retirement Happiest Healthiest Most Active
1 South East South East South East East Midlands
2 East Midlands East of England East Midlands South West
3 South West East Midlands South West London
4 West Midlands West Midlands Yorkshire & the Humber West Midlands
5 Yorkshire & the Humber North West West Midlands South East

The Most Active Region

Stated the third most rural region in the UK (88% of the land classified as rural), the East Midlands has revealed itself as the most active area for retirees, with only 30% of the population living in these areas. Places such as Rutland and Rushcliffe were featured in the top 10 of Halifax’s Quality of Life Survey in 2015, which also reflects on why people in the UK are happy retired here.

This region would be most suited to the 49% of retirees who stated that they exercised regularly, doing activities such as walking and hiking (45%) and domestic activities e.g. baking and gardening (61%); 38% planned to take up walking or hiking when they retired and 41% planned to take up domestic hobbies.

The Healthiest Region

With 40% of the region protected by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks, it a no brainer that the South East is so green and healthy. Surrounded by beautiful English countryside, 70% of retirees feel mentally well and 54% feel physically well with themselves, which shows that living in rural areas influence how healthy you feel.

Almost half (49%) of the people we surveyed in the VONR report in the South East spent up to double the recommended time exercising (one to five hours) each week with 55% content with the time they spend on hobbies and sports. 41% enjoyed walking or hiking and 50% enjoyed doing domestic hobbies in their free time or to keep in shape. 32% or retirees in the South East spent more than four weeks on holiday a year – which would increase health and wellbeing benefits. Overall, over half of retirees in the South East region are happy and content with their health.

The Happiest Region

Already holding the title for the healthiest region, the survey also reflected on how retirees in the South East region are the happiest in the UK. 55% of people who were surveyed from the South East were feeling either happy or extremely happy with themselves; 60% also said that retirement made them or will make them happier. The South East holds the top four places in the Halifax Quality of Life Survey, including Hart as the number one place to live.

Things that influenced their happiness included: being happy with their financial situation (46%); content with time spent with family (71%); achieving everything they wanted in life (37%); being happy with their health (50%) and making a lifestyle or financial plan ahead of retirement (72%). Again, as discussed the healthiest and most active region, being in a rural area with less people will make an impact on the lifestyle of retirees.

Where Should I Retire To Then?

Everyone has their own idea of how they’d like to spend their golden years, but begin by asking yourself: What are the most important elements of your retirement? Is it your health and wellbeing? How happy you are? Are you keeping fit and active? What hobbies or sports you’d like to take up or is staying close to family and friends most important?

The Voice of New Retirement report revealed retirees who were happiest as well as content with their health and fitness, lived in very rural areas where it’s warmer, has more hours of sun and is by the coast. However, it’s also important to note that the report also reveals that those who made lifestyle or financial plans ahead of their retirement were happier and healthier. Wherever you decide to retire to, planning ahead will ensure you can live out some of the happiest and healthiest years of your life in retirement.

Additional sources

Aviva’s Voice of New Retirement Report, based on 6,000 online interviews amongst UK adult aged 30 or above:
Halifax’s Quality of Life Survey Results 2015:

Using your pension money

Retirement on the horizon? Find out what your options are.

My Retirement Planner

Use our tool to find out what your pension might be worth when you retire.


Already have a pension with Aviva? Monitor it online at the touch of a button with MyAviva.

Back to top