Best countries for Brits to retire to

The possibilities are endless once you’ve retired. You’ve worked all your life to now enjoy your golden years doing, well, whatever you want to do!

For many, sticking around in the drizzly United Kingdom isn’t an appealing way to spend their hard-earned retirement. But for those of us seeking sunnier climes, there are a number of things you need to consider before jetting off. From your state pension to healthcare options overseas, we’re joined by stair lift supplier Acorn Stairlifts to look at the best places to retire to.

Key considerations

This article will consider three key considerations, though of course, it isn’t an exhaustive list:

  • Effect on state pension
  • Comfort
  • Healthcare

How moving abroad affects your state pension

If you are eligible for the new state pension, you’ll currently receive £168.60 every week. This amount increases each year to reflect the ‘triple lock’ of inflation, 2.5 per cent, or average earnings. If you choose to leave the UK to retire abroad, however, your state pension amount can be frozen. In this instance, your state pension will not increase each year in line with the triple-lock policy — you’ll continue to receive the amount it was set out when you left.

ThisIsMoney highlights the impact this can have on your funds: in 2000, the state pension was £67.50 per week. For expats who retired in 2000, they are still receiving £67.50 per week instead of the current rate of £168.60 per week.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. Your state pension will usually increase each year if you retire to: the EEA, Gibraltar, Switzerland, USA, Turkey, Barbados, Bermuda, Serbia, the Philippines, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Mauritius, Jersey, Guernsey, Macedonia, Kosovo, the Isle of Man, Israel, or Jamaica.

Personal comfort abroad

You need to think carefully about your reasons for wanting to retire and move abroad. Better weather is nice, but it won’t be enough to help you stay and set roots properly in a new country and call it home. Think about what you’ll be leaving behind — will it be easy to come back to visit family and friends in the UK? Will you get homesick? Will the change in pattern and routine put a smile on your face, or would you miss your usual everyday life?

Then of course, you need to consider the difference in climate (of course sunshine is nice, but if you burn easily, you might be sick of it after a few weeks!), the living costs associated with that country, and even something as basic as the cuisine!

Healthcare considerations

In the UK, we’re incredibly lucky to enjoy free healthcare from the NHS. But this isn’t a benefit you’ll get anywhere around the world. Retiring to a country like the USA or South Africa might end up being very pricey if you rely on the health service heavily.

If you’re looking to retire somewhere with a similar healthcare system as the UK, take a look at Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The best places to retire to


State pension freeze? No
Universal healthcare?
Travel back to the UK:
2–3-hour flight

A popular tourist destination for many Brits, Spain is a fantastic choice for retired expats. Beyond the obvious sun, sea, and sand, the local food is relatively inexpensive too, making food costs simple. If you prefer it a little cooler, the northern part of the country might be best for you.

With universal healthcare and your state pension not freezing, this is the closest you’ll get to the UK without being in the UK.

You’ll want to learn enough Spanish to get by — after all, if you’re going to live in another country, you should at least be able to speak the language well enough to be understood. Luckily, the language is considered one of the easiest for English speakers to pick up!

Spain’s weather means agriculture thrives in the hot climate. Picking up hobbies such as gardening and growing your own vegetables would be a healthy option to factor into the decision.


State pension freeze? Yes
Universal healthcare?
Travel back to the UK:
12–14-hour flight

If you’re happy to live much further afield from your native homeland, Malaysia could be one to explore as your retirement dream. You’ll have all the beaches and rainforests you could possibly need to bathe yourself in nature, while also enjoying the benefit of Malaysian law being based on the British system — road signs are in English and Malay.


State pension freeze? No
Universal healthcare?
Travel back to the UK:
2-hour flight

Switzerland is one of the countries you can retire to without your state pension freezing, meaning you’ll still see the increase of your pension each year. Of course, there’s the world-renowned Swiss healthcare system to further entice your choice to retire here! If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll love all Switzerland has to offer on its doorstep.

However, the country is known for its high cost of living too, so be sure to factor this into your deliberations.

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