Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

‘We live in UK’s top town to retire to – it’s the best of both worlds’

The UK’s top retirement community exists in a border town that offers locals the “best of both worlds”.

Guildford is one of Surrey’s largest towns, having been booming since it was first established as a settlement in the bronze and iron ages.

Approximately 77,057 people call Guildford home, many of whom have chosen the area for its proximity to London, which is just 50 minutes away by train.

The short trip makes it an ideal commuter town and an easy place for those fed up with the UK capital to retire, thanks to its more ambient, relaxed local atmosphere.

In fact, Guildford is such a popular retirement destination that it was recently voted one of the best in the country.

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Retirement living provider Retirement Villages recently dubbed the city the best area to live for prospective retirees.

The company cited the eclectic mix of safety, National Trust properties and excellent public transport as reasons for its top spot among the UK’s wealth of glittering options.

The city is also in the shadows of the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Locals have agreed with Retirement Villages’ conclusion, with local councillor Bilal Akhtar proudly touting the area’s advantages.

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Speaking to, the councillor for Worplesdon said that, aside from the proximity to London, Guildford also attracts people with its rich history.

But for retirees, the area offers a vast array of opportunities for long country and town walks.

Mr Akhtar said Guildford is “very, very famous” for its walks and added that his parish council administers the most commons in the UK.

He said: “In Worplesdon ward, we have nine commons, the highest number of commons in any parish.”

Each of those commons is well-trodden by retirees, among them his own mother-in-law.

While its close attachment to London is a long-held benefit, Mr Akhtar said it also offers an important separation from the city.

He said: “I lived in London, and once you’ve lived in such a major city, coming to this sort of town is peaceful.”

He added: “This is a major attraction to a lot of people because there’s less traffic, less pollution, and a better environment in which to live and breathe.”

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