When you retire, a whole new world of opportunity can open up. Not having to go to work leaves the days free, and for many of us, it’s the first time we can really create our own rules and schedules.
But, while the beckoning freedom means we can pursue hobbies and goals we didn’t have time for before, it can also come with concerns. You might not know how you’ll fill your days once you’ve retired, or maybe you worry you’ll become bored or isolated.
Though the beauty of retired life is that it isn’t static, and you can adapt your days to whatever you’re interested in at that moment. Retirement is a new chapter of life, an opportunity for you to try different things, do what you love, and challenge yourself in new ways.
So, if you’re looking for inspiration, here are 21 brilliant retirement ideas for any age.
21 brilliant retirement ideas for any age
1. Write a book
Writing your own book is a dream many of us share, and the reason most people haven’t done it yet is simply that they haven’t had the time. So, now you do have time, why not focus on making your dream a reality?
Whether it’s writing a novel, a nonfiction book, or your own memoir, almost everyone has a book in them – you just need passion and discipline.
If you’ve always dreamed of being published, you might want to read our guide; How to write a book and get it published. Or, if you’re passionate about cooking, you can check out our article; How to write and publish a cookbook.
2. Grow a garden
Gardening has a multitude of physical and psychological benefits – and spending time nurturing plant life is a fun and relaxing way to spend a few hours. So, you could use your extra time to grow your own garden.
The beauty of gardening is that it comes in many forms: you can grow your own organic veg, bring a beautiful flower garden to life, or even turn your home into an exotic jungle.
If you don’t have a garden, there are still many plants that grow happily in pots on balconies or windowsills. Or, if you’d like more space, you might want to think about getting an allotment. For more creative ways to make the most of your space, check out our article; 9 tips for gardening in small spaces.
3. Travel far and wide
Travel is one of the most common retirement goals – and for good reason. Many of us didn’t have the time to travel as much as we would’ve liked when we were working, and visiting new countries and discovering different cultures is one of life’s joys.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need a lot of money to travel. There are many ways to travel cheaply, and there are even ways you can travel for free.
4. Explore your own corner of the world
You don’t have to get on a plane to discover new places. The UK is packed with vibrant cities, charming villages, and gorgeous countryside. So, what better way to spend your time than exploring as much of it as you can?
You don’t even need to spend a night away from home; you can hop in the car or on a train (or on your bike!) and head somewhere about an hour away from you for a day of adventure.
You can also become a tourist in your own town, visiting popular sites and attractions and seeing your local area from a whole new perspective.
For ideas on lovely places to visit in the UK, head over to the travel section of our website.
5. Get involved in music
Most of us have a passion for music and many of us have always wanted to play an instrument. If you never had lessons as a child, you might think that the ship has sailed – but it’s never too late to start learning!
Learning an instrument is fun and fulfilling. Plus, it can keep your brain healthy, improve mood and memory, and reduce stress.
Have a read of our article, 7 of the easiest musical talents for adults to learn, to find out which instruments might be easiest to pick up. Remember that many lessons can be done digitally, so you don’t even need to leave home to learn.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a social element, you might want to think about joining a choir. There are community choirs all over the country!
6. Declutter your home
Retirement is a new chapter in your life and, to mark the occasion, you could give your home a new lease on life.
Many of us have far too many possessions, and when our homes are cluttered it can have an effect on how we feel, causing our minds to feel cluttered too. So why not go through your cupboards, wardrobes, desks, and drawers, and have a big sort-out?
While you’re decluttering, you might rediscover some old treasures – and you’ll almost certainly find plenty of things to either sell or donate.
Before you get stuck into a decluttering session, you might want to check out our article; How to declutter and reorganise your home. And if you’re hoping to earn a bit of extra money, have a read of our other article; How to make money from your clutter.
7. Get into exercise
Health is wealth, as the saying goes, and your retirement is an excellent time to start prioritising your physical fitness.
Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s also great for your mind – and it can even lead to better brain health. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never lifted a weight or gone for a run, as the versatility of exercise means there’s something for everyone, no matter your ability level or interests.
You can start off slow by increasing your daily step count or trying out different low-impact exercises. Or why not use your extra time to get into something new, like martial arts, running, or Pilates?
To find out more about why we should prioritise fitness later in life, you may want to read our article; The importance of building strength and balance in your 50s and 60s.
One of the best things you can do with your free time is to volunteer. Volunteering isn’t only a wonderful way to give back to the community and help others, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and can give your confidence and self-worth a real boost. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people.
Because volunteering isn’t about money, you can afford to be choosy about where you’d like to volunteer. It’s always good to pick something you’re passionate about – whether that’s working with children, protecting animals, or helping the homeless.
Have a read of our guide to find out about some of the most popular volunteering opportunities available. Or, if you’re interested in volunteering from the comfort of your own home, you might want to check out our article on volunteering online.
9. Buy a sports season ticket or club membership
Whether you love football, rugby, or cricket, buying a season ticket can help you get more involved with your favourite sporting teams and their communities.
A season ticket will give you access to all regular-season home games, without additional charges, for a set period of time (for example, a year or a ‘lifetime’), with prices ranging from around the £250 mark all the way up to £3500.
Season tickets may seem pricey but they actually work out cheaper than paying separately for each game. Most will also give you discounts in shops, bars, and restaurants at the match venue and access to member-only areas, among other benefits.
To find out more about season tickets and how to buy them, it’s worth visiting the website of your favourite sports clubs and seeing what’s on offer.
10. Get creative
Getting creative and using the artistic side of your brain has myriad benefits. It’s therapeutic, can sharpen your motor skills, improve memory and concentration, and give you a sense of achievement. Plus, learning creative skills is almost always lots of fun too.
Just like exercise, there’s a creative pursuit for everyone. You can take up photography or knitting, learn to paint or draw, or give carpentry or calligraphy a go.
If you’re interested in exploring your artistic side but don’t know where to start, head over to the art and culture section of our website.
11. Learn a language
Another great way you can engage the creative side of your brain is to learn a language.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late to learn a new language – and it’ll mean you can break down language barriers in different countries. Plus, learning a new language is excellent for your brain and cognition.
If you’re not sure which language you’d like to learn, you might want to read our articles; 9 most spoken languages that are useful to learn and 6 languages that are easier for English speakers to learn.
12. Make new friends
By the time we reach retirement age, many of us have already formed our friendships and tend to stick to seeing the people we know. But making new friends and widening your social circle is a wonderful thing to do, whatever age we are.
Meeting different people exposes you to new experiences and opinions, and making intergenerational friendships can keep you young at heart. Plus, younger people benefit from spending time with people with more life experience.
It’s true that making new friends can be more difficult when you’re over a certain age – especially if you’re shy. But there are many excellent ways you can meet new people and form new connections.
To find out more, have a read of our article; 11 ways to make new friends.
Because retirement is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, and a time for new pursuits and adventures, it’s also an excellent time to move home and downsize.
Whether your children have flown the nest and you no longer need a family house, or you’d simply prefer a smaller place to look after, downsizing is a great way to free up more money for your retirement funds.
Plus, aside from the enjoyment of looking for your new perfect home, you might also want to think about moving to a different area of the UK. Perhaps you want to be closer to friends and family, or maybe you’ve always dreamed of living in a lovely seaside town, or a quiet country village. If so, now’s the time to make a move!
14. Do up your home
If you’re happy where you live and don’t want to move, there are other ways you can mark this new time period and adapt your surroundings to better fit a new lifestyle. Why not think about making some home improvements?
Whether it’s installing a new bathroom, upgrading your kitchen, or adding an extension, there are many ways you can improve your home – and boost its market value, should you come to sell your property down the line.
If your home doesn’t need much work – or you don’t have the finances for a big restoration project – you might want to have a go at upcycling.
Upcycling is the act of repurposing old furniture and possessions and giving them a new lease on life. Not only is it a great way to save money while giving your home a new look, but it can also help you to live more sustainably.
There are many ways you can use upcycling to improve your home. You can reupholster sofas and chairs, turn cans and jars into pretty plant pots, paint tired wooden furniture bright colours…the options are endless.
For more inspiration, check out our article; 16 creative upcycling ideas.
16. Learn to dance
Dancing is an excellent way to keep both your body and brain healthy. It improves your fitness, boosts confidence, reduces stress, and keeps you feeling young. One of the best things about dance is that you don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it – and it’s also never too late to start learning.
Plus, because there are so many different styles of dancing, you’re sure to find one to suit you. You can try ballroom, Latin, ballet, salsa, tango, tap, or belly dancing; and you can learn online, via one-to-one tuition, or in a group class.
If you’d like to get into dance, you may want to have a read of our articles; 11 dance classes for beginners and An introduction to ballroom dancing. And if you fancy giving belly dancing a try, why not check out the monthly session run on Rest Less Events?
17. Become a tour guide
If you have a passion for history, architecture, or beautiful places – or all three! – you might be interested in becoming a tour guide.
Volunteering for organisations like the National Trust allows you to indulge your interests and get ‘behind the scenes’ access to some of the most fascinating places in the UK. Plus, you might make new friends along the way.
You don’t need any training to become a tour guide – just passion! To find out more, head over to the National Trust website.
18. Experiment with different recipes
When done around work commitments, cooking can sometimes become a bit of a chore; with many of us prioritising quick and easy meals.
While there are plenty of healthy, tasty meals that you whip up in a flash, having extra time can allow you to be more creative, explore new and interesting recipes, and develop some new cooking and baking skills.
For example, you could learn how to temper chocolate, make the perfect flaky pastry, or create your own homemade pasta from scratch. You could even take cooking classes, where you’ll learn from some culinary experts.
For more ideas and inspiration, visit the food and drink section of our website.
19. Start blogging
If you’ve always enjoyed writing but don’t think you’re cut out to write a book – or you’d like to start off with something a bit smaller – why not think about starting a blog?
Blogging is a brilliant way to begin your writing journey because you can write as much or as little as you like, and you can blog about absolutely anything – from topics you’re interested in to your own life and experiences.
If you’re hesitant about putting your words out in public, you can keep your blog private until you’re ready to share it with people…or you can keep it for your eyes only, and use it as an online journal. Setting up a blog is probably much easier than you think too.
Check out our article, How to start a blog in 6 easy steps, to find out more.
20. Start a small business
You might have retired…but you don’t necessarily have to stop work altogether. Many people start small businesses once they’ve retired, and this can allow you to earn a bit of extra money while challenging yourself in new ways. This doesn’t mean starting a stressful full-time job, but rather turning a passion, hobby, or skill into a money-maker.
For example, if you’re into cooking or baking, you could make jams and cakes to sell at food festivals, or in local shops and cafes. If you’re good at arts and crafts, you could sell your creations online or in markets. If you’re skilled in languages or music, you could do some private tuition.
This can be a good way to keep yourself occupied, and knowing that you’ve got some money coming in – even if it’s only a small amount – can take a load off your mind.
21. Make a career change
It’s becoming increasingly common for people to use their retirement period as a chance to change careers, go self-employed, or drop down to part-time hours.
As well as wanting or needing to top up their income, many people also want to continue reaping the benefits that come with working – such as the chance to socialise with others and develop new skills.
However, it’s important to remember that retirement is your time, so if you do change careers, try to make sure that your new role is something that suits your lifestyle, and/or that you’re interested in and enjoy.
Retirement is a chance to pursue your passions, develop new ones, and embrace new experiences.
You might have big dreams – like a round-the-world trip or a massive home development – but sometimes it’s the smaller things that bring the most happiness. This can be true whether you’re learning to play a musical instrument or volunteering for a cause you believe in.
The wonderful thing about retirement is that you don’t have to pick one thing to pursue or settle on one goal. You can try something new every day; whether it’s a different style of dance or a brand-new recipe.
If you’re thinking about retiring but you’re still unsure, you might want to read our article; 9 things to consider when you’re thinking about retiring.