Home and area for retirement... your thoughts please

(44 Posts)
XingMing Mon 07-Sep-20 20:08:28

We are 64 and will be retiring in a year or two. We want to move from where we live now (Cornwall) to an area which doesn't involve several hours on the M5 in summer. Where might one look for a decent high street, with a butcher, baker, deli and greengrocer, and a supermarket for staples? We're in good health, so we don't need to be next door to a big hospital. We walk, we enjoy eating out, and the odd movie or cultural event, and most of our close friends and family live in the Midlands or between Cardiff and London. We're planning weekends away to look at nice market towns in pleasant country for information. Schools are no longer relevant. Please wise ones, where should we be looking?

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JoJoSM2 Mon 07-Sep-20 20:16:51

You’ll find places with nice high streets all over the coutry. Are you looking for more of a village or town? And what sort of budget for what sort of house?
I know you’re in good health now, but healthcare is sth to think about for the future. My MIL lives in a popular retirement spot on the south coast and it’s a nightmare to even get a GP appointment as they’re beyond overstretched.

CatBatCat Mon 07-Sep-20 20:21:38

Royal Wootton Bassett. The high Street has all those things and Swindon is only 15 mins down the road. Its right on the M4 to get places and in between Cardiff/Midlands/London.

Dressingdown1 Mon 07-Sep-20 20:24:45

Depending on how much money you have, you could consider Stockbridge in Hampshire. It's a very attractive small town situated on the River Test. It's reasonably convenient for the A34, M3 and M4. It has some lovely individual shops, beautiful countryside in walking distance and is right on the Test Way. However, it is very expensive!

XingMing Mon 07-Sep-20 20:54:17

Our budget will be sensible, but not plutocratic. And we would like light and space, but fewer rooms. Hampshire is probably above budget, especially the Test or Meon valley areas.

We aren't bothered to live by the sea, although we love it. We have loved the landscape in North Wiltshire when we have visited but found the towns a bit more elderly than we would like. It's still on the list, but we'd like to move in a shift.

We like some of Scotland, but it's too far distant from family and friends. The NW is frankly too wet and cold; cold is fine, but wet is misery.

Places like Frome and Bruton in Somerset are a bit achingly hipster (otherwise appealing location, landscape and travel-wise). There probably isn't a single right answer but any suggestions are most welcome.

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XingMing Mon 07-Sep-20 20:57:09

@JoJoSM2, big village or small town would be our preference.

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JoJoSM2 Mon 07-Sep-20 20:58:49

Have you looked at Surrey? Lovely, hilly landscape with the Surrey Hills and the South Downs and you could go into London for culture on day trips + reasonably convenient for your friends and family. There are plenty of villages and towns of different sizes that are pretty with good high streets.

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XingMing Mon 07-Sep-20 21:02:50

Many people in our situation would choose to stay put. But we are four hours drive from most of our family and friends, so the objective is to reduce drive time to about 90 minutes. The range in which you are happy to drive for lunch or dinner for a casual catch up, before driving home.

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XingMing Mon 07-Sep-20 21:08:24

@JoJoSM2, Surrey is probably a bit developed for DH tastes. The bits he might like, we almost certainly can't afford.

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Darkestseasonofall Mon 07-Sep-20 21:10:00

Abegavenny? It pretty much ticks all of your boxes

redpandaalert Mon 07-Sep-20 21:11:30

Alresford, Cranleigh.

XingMing Mon 07-Sep-20 21:17:33

Oooh new ideas, I need to get out my atlas. We wondered about Malvern, Worcester and that area?

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CatAndHisKit Tue 08-Sep-20 01:06:25

Worcester is nice - and more indie cafes than used to be. Nice river walks. Close to wales. Malvern more of a retirement village.

Murinae Tue 08-Sep-20 01:13:52

Plenty of small towns near Cardiff. Cowbridge is very popular but very expensive. Areas around Cardiff like Roath or Whitchurch are nice too.

Beetle76 Tue 08-Sep-20 01:22:52

I like West Sussex. Petworth perhaps. Arundel is also lovely. Lots of little villages along the A272. Billingshurst and Midhurst are also on my retirement town list.

ElaineMarieBenes Tue 08-Sep-20 02:41:05

Cardiff or Swansea

Dressingdown1 Tue 08-Sep-20 08:08:45

Have you considered Somerton in Somerset? It's an attractive, historic, small town, convenient for A303.

Porridgeoat Tue 08-Sep-20 08:12:19

Cirencester. Middle of the Cotswolds. Train. Market town. Set in the middle of the London midlands Cardiff triangle

Porridgeoat Tue 08-Sep-20 08:13:56

Easy to get on motorways from Cirencester m4 m5

grannycake Tue 08-Sep-20 08:15:25

I would look at Hereford, Monmouth, Chepstow - all have good transport links (both road and rail) and are thriving market towns. I think you would also like Hay and Crickhowell but there are no stations

Porridgeoat Tue 08-Sep-20 08:19:43

What’s your budget op?

senua Tue 08-Sep-20 08:20:42

The area around Stroud often gets a good mention on here.

Porridgeoat Tue 08-Sep-20 08:22:27

Stroud is hipster central. beautiful countryside though

XingMing Tue 08-Sep-20 09:12:00

Budget will depend on what we achieve for our current property but we'd like to release some cash to assist DC with a start on the housing ladder. £300-400k approximately. It probably wouldn't go far in West Sussex, or Surrey.

Thank you for all your ideas: one or two names have cropped up that were on the radar and we're planning some weekend trips for research purposes.

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Reedwarbler Tue 08-Sep-20 16:28:29

Whenever Stroud gets a mention I always wonder if those mentioning it have actually been there, or if they are just regurgitating other's opinions. Stroud is rubbish for shopping, (apart from supermarkets and the farmers market), is generally very hilly and steep, so no good for legs that are getting on in years, and has loads of feral youths wandering about, especially at night. Like all towns it has a drug and graffiti problem. Why people paint it as some sort of shangri-la I'll never know. Anyway, I avoid the place as much as possible.
Op, what is your budget? We are in a similar boat to you as we are mid sixties and both long retired. We are thinking of moving because we have no public transport here at all and we are worried when/if the time comes that we can't drive, we will be totally stuck. To that end we will base our choices largely on the availability of public transport and/or proximity to local services. It is quite surprising how poor public transport is in parts of Gloucestershire (and taxis have to be pre-booked here generally as well), so I would say look at this aspect very closely if you come to this county.
Also, some towns have expanded so much in the last 20 to 30 years, but the infrastructure has failed to keep pace. Places like Tetbury where the GP's are overwhelmed because the population has increased so much (and I believe Malmesbury is similar). You need to do a lot of research!
My absolute favourite place is Pershore in Worcestershire, but I also like Worcester itself as long as you are away from the river. Don't think I can persuade my h to move that far though.

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