There’s something special about London. Between the rich history, dazzling architecture, vibrant multiculturalism, and thriving arts scene, it’s a fascinating and unique place to live.
And while we might traditionally associate retirement with moving to the coast or countryside, this approach may not be for everyone. For those looking to pack their later life with varied experiences, retiring in London can be an excellent choice, as you can make the most of all the cultural and culinary delights, transport links, and activities on your doorstep.
With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with Wallacea Living to bring you 11 tips for a happy later life in the capital. Conveniently situated between Paddington Basin and Little Venice, Wallacea Living is the most centrally-located retirement living community in London, offering not only luxury independent apartments but a range of activities, clubs, and wellbeing services.
1. Immerse yourself in art and culture
From watching big-budget action films in the cinema to attending poetry readings, many of us appreciate the arts in one form or another. But finding the time to enjoy them between commitments, like working or raising a family, can be tricky. So, if you’ve got more free time when you retire, why not lean into the cultural side of life?
This can be as simple as working your way through films and books you never had time for. However, it can also involve attending shows like art exhibitions, musicals, recitals, and ballet.
By retiring in London, you’ll have some of the world’s biggest and best cultural institutions on your doorstep. For example, if you decide to retire at Wallacea Living, you’ll only be a short tube ride from the famed theatres of the West End, art galleries like the Tate Modern, and the hallowed halls of The British Library. Plus, residents also have access to a private cinema.
Interested in life at Wallacea Living?
2. Spend plenty of time in green spaces
Studies have identified a link between time spent in green spaces and lower levels of mental distress, anxiety, and depression. Natural spaces can also improve our physical health by encouraging us to exercise.
And the good news is that retiring in the city doesn’t mean you’ll need to miss out on these benefits. There are 3,000 different parks and green spaces in London, making it the greenest city in Europe.
From the undulating greenery of Hampstead Heath – where you can enjoy wild swimming in one of the ponds – to the enchanting ambience of St. James’s Park, there are plenty of natural spots to choose from.
As well as having landscaped gardens on-site, Wallacea Living is particularly well located, as it’s nestled between two of the city’s most famous green spaces: Regent’s and Hyde Park.
3. Make and maintain social connections
Like spending time in green spaces, research shows that social connections boost our mental health and self-esteem. Strong, supportive relationships have also been proven to lower our risk of various diseases and conditions – and even extend our life expectancy.
Despite this, many of us don’t prioritise making and maintaining meaningful relationships. But retirement can often offer more time for socialising – and where better to do that than in London?
With easy access to thousands of bars, restaurants, and parks, there are plenty of things to do with friends in London – whether you want to meet up for a game of pickleball or enjoy a quiet catch-up and coffee along the Regent’s Canal. Plus, London has excellent links with the rest of the country (and beyond), making it simple to visit loved ones wherever they live.
And as a city of nearly nine million inhabitants, the possibilities for making new friends are practically endless. Check out our article, 9 different ways to meet new people, for ideas for expanding your social circle.
For Wallacea Living residents, the diverse range of exercise classes and interest groups on offer can make it easy to meet new people who share your passions, while the elegant bar and restaurant are great spaces to entertain your loved ones.
4. Check in with your health
Diseases and health conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as eye conditions like glaucoma, can become more common with age. But, having regular checks can lead to earlier detection, which may make them easier to treat.
Retiring in the city can make it quicker and easier to get health support, as there are thousands of local pharmacies, GP surgeries, and hospitals just a short cab, bus, or tube ride away.
If you choose to retire at Wallacea Living, checking in with your health can be even more convenient. Not only is there a wellbeing team on-site 24/7 to look after you should anything happen, but you’ll also have priority access to a private GP booking portal and a local prescription collection service.
Residents also have access to a bi-monthly, on-site GP surgery and vaccination clinics – and a wellbeing MOT every six months. Wellbeing MOTs involve checking vital signs like blood pressure, as well as a discussion about your activity, socialisation, and overall mental health.
Interested in Wallacea Living’s health services?
5. Consider getting a pet
Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of having a pet but put it off because of work and family commitments. But retirement can offer us a wonderful opportunity to commit to a new, lovable companion.
Whether you’re into cats, dogs, birds, or fish, pets can inject colour and fullness into our lives. They can also reduce feelings of loneliness, encourage us to exercise (whether it’s by playing with our cat or taking our dog for a stroll), and add meaning and purpose to our lives.
If you’d love to get yourself a dog but don’t believe they’re suited to a big city like London, you might want to reconsider. This 2022 report ranked our capital as the most dog-friendly city in the world – with plenty of transport, parks, restaurants, and bars that allow pets.
While some retirement communities have restrictions on dogs and cats, Wallacea Living welcomes well-behaved furry friends. Just remember that pets are a big responsibility, so you should consider the pros and cons carefully.
6. Take time to travel
One of the beauties of retirement is that it can give us more time to spend with family, engage in fulfilling hobbies, and finally do things we’ve always longed to do – and for many, this includes travel.
Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of relaxing on the sun-soaked sands of places like the Caribbean or the Maldives, where you can listen to the soft sounds of the ocean lapping at your feet and the rustling of palm fronds in the warm breeze. Or maybe you’d like to dive head first into lively culture, exploring the bustling bazaars of Istanbul or the neon-hued streets of Tokyo.
Wherever you’d like to go, travel introduces us to new cultures and customs, broadening our understanding of the world and our place in it. It even comes with some lesser-known benefits, such as encouraging us to live healthier and boosting our creativity.
Retiring in London is an ideal choice for those looking to travel in later life. With five airports within easy reach and excellent rail connections, you can indulge your wanderlust whenever you choose – whether you’d like to head abroad or explore the UK’s diverse shores.
If you choose to retire at Wallacea Living, your apartment (and everything inside) will also be safe and looked after while you’re off having adventures.
7. Keep learning new things
Developing new knowledge and skills in our later years can come with many benefits. Research suggests it might be able to improve our memory, slow cognitive ageing, and even delay the onset of dementia.
Learning can also be gratifying, add meaning and purpose to our lives, and help us stay connected to the wider world.
Retiring in London can offer you endless opportunities for learning. With world-famous educational institutions – like the Natural History Museum or the Churchill War Rooms – on your doorstep and thousands of classes and events running throughout the year, there’s plenty to get involved with.
Wallacea Living has a relaxed library space and runs a range of talks and interest groups, which means you won’t have to leave the premises to access a wealth of information.
8. Get plenty of exercise
Exercise can have a significant impact on our physical and mental wellbeing, so it’ll come as no surprise that staying active is one of our top tips for a happy later life in the capital.
While some places can undoubtedly get busy (for example, you might want to avoid the Thames path during rush hour), there are plenty of great spots to get your heart rate up across London.
As well as the abundance of parks, there are miles of tranquil canal towpaths spread across the Regent’s and Grand Union Canals. And if you’re into cycling, there are hundreds of miles of cycle routes to enjoy. You can even explore the waterways by paddleboard or kayak.
However, if indoor exercise is more your thing, London offers a pick and mix of gyms and fitness classes – from hot yoga and Pilates to spinning and boxing.
As well as their own classes, Wallacea Living provides access to an on-site pool, spa, and gym facilities for simplicity and convenience. Plus, should you ever need it, they offer rehabilitation facilities to help you along on your health journey – for example, if you become injured, fall ill, or live with a disability.
Interested in life at Wallacea Living?
9. Volunteer for a cause you believe in
While many people relish the freedom retirement gives them, some can feel rudderless and daunted by the amount of time they have on their hands. After years of work, it’s normal to feel a bit lost without your usual nine-to-five.
If this is a worry of yours, you could consider easing the transition by volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about. Volunteering offers many of the same benefits as work (except for the pay cheque, of course), with the added knowledge that your time is helping to make the world a better place.
Volunteering can offer us a sense of meaning and purpose, introduce us to new and interesting people, and boost our self-esteem. Plus, in many cases, you can choose hours that fit around your life.
As the largest city in the UK, London has plenty of volunteering opportunities. So, whether you’re interested in helping the city’s homeless population, working with children, or raising awareness for a little-known condition, you’ll surely find something you’re passionate about.
10. Eat and drink well
We all know the benefits of a balanced diet. It can lower our risk of developing various health conditions, strengthen our bones, and give us more energy to make the most of life. So why not use retirement as a chance to pay more attention to what we eat?
This could involve taking a healthy cooking course or visiting some of London’s famous clean-eating spots. But it can also mean expanding our palates and exploring all manner of culinary curiosities (because it’s equally important to allow ourselves a treat now and then).
From French and Thai to Ethiopian and Columbian, there are more than 60 national cuisines to try in London, so you can embark on a sumptuous gastronomic tour of the world. Plus, if fine dining is your thing, nearly half the nation’s Michelin-starred restaurants are in London.
At Wallacea Living, there’s a restaurant where residents and the public can enjoy a delicious all-day dining menu made from locally sourced ingredients. Their team can even assist you in creating personalised nutrition plans to reach your health goals. Plus, apartment owners can collaborate with experienced kitchen staff to make truly personalised dishes – whether it’s for a celebratory dinner with the family or a warming meal on a winter’s night.
The wider city also offers a cornucopia of exciting ingredients. From Italian delis and fresh fish stalls to Mexican markets and vegetable stands, amateur chefs can delight in bringing fantastic flavours back to their kitchens.
11. Get stuck into your hobbies
The world is a competitive place, and during our working years, it’s easy to get swept along by the attitude of always wanting to do more, work harder, and be better. This mindset often means prioritising the things that’ll get us ahead over the activities that bring us joy. But one benefit of retirement is that it can give us more time and freedom to get back to our pastimes.
Like volunteering, engaging with our hobbies can give us purpose, achievement, and satisfaction – which can lead to greater happiness. It can also bring our attention to the present moment, helping us relax.
Depending on your interests, there are thousands of clubs and classes spread across London to help you get stuck into your hobbies or find new ones – from writing groups to paddle clubs.
However, Wallacea Living residents don’t need to leave the premises to take part in a range of interest groups and activities. Whether you’re into card games, crafts, martial arts, or ballroom dancing, there’s a hospitality team on hand to help you delve deep into your hobbies. If there isn’t already an interest group or club running that you’d like to join, a member of staff can help you get started.
From spending time in stunning green spaces and staying connected with loved ones to volunteering and getting regular health checks, we hope you’ve enjoyed our top tips for a happy later life in the capital.
While we might traditionally associate moving into rural areas with retirement, hopefully, this article has shown that living in London can also be an excellent choice for your later years – especially if you’re keen to fill them with a diverse range of experiences.
To learn more about Wallacea Living and the services they offer, you can use the button below.
Do you live in London? If so, what’s your favourite thing about it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.