The great expanse of West Sands beach, St Andrews, Fife, as a couple take in the sea air in the distance

The best seaside towns to retire to in the UK

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If retirement is on the horizon and you’re looking to relocate, these are the top seaside towns to consider in the UK.

According to research by Age Co (the commercial wing of charity Age UK), nearly three in four adults actively plan to, or are considering, relocating when they retire, with seaside settings among the most favoured destinations. Appealing to those who’ve spent their working lives in busy cities and on commuter trains, the seaside also offers a whole raft of lifestyle and health benefits. We take a look at some of the most appealing coastal locations across the UK for retirees.

The beautiful coastline of Falmouth, Cornwall
Falmouth. © Jeffrey Hamilton
Falmouth, Cornwall

Regularly named among the best places to live in the UK in polls, this harbour town is kept youthful and lively by its student population and its cultural offerings, including a great roster of festivals and other events. It’s also an active town with plenty to do, both on and off its four beaches, including paddleboarding, kayaking, safe swimming, sailing, walking and cycling. Local ferries and boat trips also make for great days out on the water.

Weymouth, Dorset

The classic British seaside at its best, Weymouth has its own award-winning beach lined by seasonal chalets but it’s also a gateway to the magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast (so named for its extraordinary fossil-hunting opportunities) as well to the ‘tied island’ of Portland, joined to the mainland by iconic Chesil Beach. There’s heaps to do here, from watersports to family days out at the Sealife Weymouth, and property prices are a fraction of what they are in nearby Sandbanks.

Sidmouth, Devon

Another charming English Channel resort and Jurassic Coast gateway, this Regency town — much of which is a conservation area — is well located for the amenities and attractions of the ancient city of Exeter, just 40 minutes way. Walkers love it for its access to the South West Coast Path, which takes you to chocolate-box villages such Branscombe and Beer and to Ladram Bay, with its red rock stacks. It also has its own family-friendly beach with lots of rock pools to explore.

The pier of Southwold, Suffolk, on a sunny day with a ship sailing by on the horizon
Southwold. Photo by Photo by Magda V
Southwold, Suffolk

Both chic and down to earth, this town on the Suffolk Heritage Coast delights with its quirky harbour with its rowing-boat ferry over to neighbouring Walberswick, its mix of stylish boutiques and old-school independent shops, its award-winning pier, its vintage cinema and its brewery — all watched over by a working lighthouse. There’s also an array of snug and welcoming pubs, and great restaurants, ranging from fine dining to fish and chips overlooking the beach, with its colourful huts.

Worthing, West Sussex

Within easy reach of lively but often raucous Brighton and the cathedral city and market town of Chichester, as well as to Gatwick Airport and to London, the seaside town where Oscar Wilde wrote The Importance
of Being Earnest is increasingly popular for its amenities, its good value and its proximity to the South Downs for wonderful walking.
There’s also a gently sloping beach with lots of activities, including swimming, fishing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and foraging.

St Andrews, Fife

Best known for its golf courses (including the Old Course, one of the longest-established in the world, open to the public for rounds and also for walks in the sea air) and for its university, this town just 50 minutes north of Edinburgh is also home to the superb West Sands beach of Chariots of Fire fame. Stretching for three kilometres, backed by dunes and part of a conservation area, the beach is dog-friendly and also has a zone where sand-yachters can safely do their thing. St Andrews is also said to be the sunniest, driest location in the UK thanks to its unique microclimate.

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