Retiring to the United Kingdom

If you have been an expatriate and last lived in the UK over a decade ago, you will see some dramatic changes. Those returning to London will be dumbstruck by its property prices and by the still rapidly changing skyline, particularly on the riverfront. Areas that were written off 20 or even ten years ago are now sought-after.

Some things in the UK remain reassuringly the same: the Queen and the familiar icons of Westminster, the currency and the climate. Besides the weather, the topics that Britons are most concerned about, according to polls, are Brexit, terrorism, immigration, the cost of housing and the state of the NHS. Most people are working harder than ever and striving to find the fabled work/life balance.

You may have ties to the UK through property or family, so the decision as to where you will move to is possibly already made. But if you are returning to a relatively blank canvas – clearly your budget, needs and tastes will all make their marks on it – you may approach the decision of where to live completely differently to when you were last in the UK.

Retiring to UK Map

Cost of Living in the United Kingdom

London, no surprise, ranks as the most expensive place to live in the UK, with Bath and Aberdeen following in second and third place, according to the cost of living index Numbeo.

London has the priciest public transport in the world and the third most expensive furnished accommodation and utilities in Western Europe, according to Expatistan, which calculates London’s cost of living as 69% more expensive than Madrid, 19% more expensive than Paris, 89% more expensive than Istanbul, but 8% cheaper than New York.

Londoners spend two-thirds of their income on rent, up from half six years ago. In England as a whole, tenants pay nearly half their income and the average mortgage equals 23% of income after tax.

Moving to the United Kingdom

Retiring to UK

Anyone with a British passport is free to enter the UK and remain for as long as they wish. If you have a non-British spouse, partner or child under 18, they may qualify for entry as dependants via a settlement visa (currently dependent on minimum income or savings). You can find information on

Issues to consider are: whether you are entitled to benefits when you return to the UK; whether you will need new insurance policies, such as private medical or life insurance; and how exchange rates and inflation may affect your income or savings.


See our ‘Brexit Update’ pages for how your retirement to the UK may be affected as the UK leaves the EU.

Retiring to Europe‘ provides you with the key information you need to consider when planning your retirement to any of the most popular countries in Europe. The following subjects are comprehensively covered for each destination:






Cost of Living




Retiring to Europe

Where to retire in Europe?

Europe remains a popular retirement destination for Britons. But where best to retire in Europe? The full-colour, 264-page book ‘Retiring to Europe’ considers the pros and cons of the popular options. It examines in detail climate, lifestyle, language, travel connections, the affordability of property, access to healthcare and the tax and other financial implications of residency in ten European countries.

It focuses on the areas of Mediterranean Europe that Britons prefer to retire to: France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. It also looks at the UK as a retirement option.

‘Retiring to Europe’ is now available as a free download or as a soft cover glossy book priced £9.95 (including post & packing).