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The Picture Perfect Retirement Homes Index

The Picture Perfect Retirement Homes Index, from money.co.uk, has ranked the UK’s and USA's most aesthetically pleasing retirement communities, taking into account the look and feel of both interiors and exteriors, google rankings, grade listing of the building, facilities such as pools and games rooms, and views of the surrounding landscape.

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The UK’s top retirement communities 

Typically aimed at those 55 and older, these properties provide a unique independent lifestyle that competes with those of Instagram influencers. With the likes of Victorian Gothic mansions and contemporary city-chic flats showing that stylish later living is pushing against stereotypes.

In the UK, entries include a Sussex village with its very own private lake, a sleek and modern London property with an in-house cinema, and a Grade II* Listed Georgian Manor in Kent nested across 450 acres of land with breathtaking views of the countryside. 

1. Nightingale Place, London

The sleek and sophisticated architecture of Nightingale Place in the trendy area of Clapham, south London is perfect for those who like their lifestyle a little more fast-paced or just fancy some great views across the city. The effortlessly chic design of the interiors is matched by the luxury of the facilities which include a pool, restaurant and even an in-house cinema! Prices start from £599,000 (other fees apply).

Audley Nightingale Place. Photographs: Audley.co.uk

2. Binswood, Warwickshire

With brickwork inspired by Hampton Court and the colleges of Oxford that give major Hogwarts vibes, ex-school Binswood Hall also offers some lavish and very instagrammable interiors. With a pool, health centre, gym, library, bistro bar and restaurant all housed within its 19th Century walls, plus ornately decorated high ceilings and stained-glass windows, life at Binswood village looks like a modern fairytale. Prices start from £225,000 based on 75% equity share (other fees apply).

Audley Binswood. Photographs: Audley.co.uk

3. Mote House, Kent

With 450-acres of wide open spaces, Mote House in Kent offers breathtaking views of the English countryside. Take a stroll through the luscious grounds and at the heart of the village you will even find a beautifully restored Grade II* listed Georgian mansion. Prices for pre-owned properties start from £ 379,950 (other fees apply).

Audley Mote House. Photographs: Audley.co.uk

4. Great Alne Park, Warwickshire

When the Bard said “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come” he could have very easily been talking about Great Alne Park. Set in Shakespeare country, Great Alne Park offers residents a wealth of facilities in which to “bear a charmed life”. And those who feel that “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin” can spend their days tending the earth on their very own allotment. Prices start at £317,000.

Great Alne Park. Photographs: inspiredvillages.co.uk 

5. Durrants, Sussex

Nothing screams “finer things in life” more than an afternoon of croquet, and at Durrants village in leafy Sussex, you’ll find a perfectly manicured lawn to revel in your new pastime. Durrants village also boasts its own private lake complete with a pavilion to enjoy the sunlight sparkling on the water - perhaps with a glass of fizz. Prices for new properties start from £340,000.

Durrants. Photographs: inspiredvillages.co.uk 

6. Millbrook, Devon

Close to the historic city of Exeter and the West Country coastline, Millbrook offers a quiet and comfortable village life, albeit with a pool, spa, restaurant and cinema to keep you busy. Prices start from £368,500.

Millbrook. Photographs: inspiredvillages.co.uk 

7.  St Elphin's House, Derbyshire

Nestled in the Derbyshire Dales is St Elphin’s House. In its previous life, St Elphin’s House was a Victorian school and the building’s architecture has maintained a gorgeous Gothic appeal with a grand staircase. You can also enjoy the fine dining of The Orangery Restaurant which updates its menu with the seasons. Pre-owned properties start from £210,000 (other fees apply).

Audley St Elphin's House. Photographs: Audley.co.uk 

8. Ellerslie, Worcestershire

If you’d like your retirement framed by a dramatic setting, the three Victorian Mansions overlooking the Severn Valley on the Malvern Hills that make up the Audley Ellerslie village could be the place for you. Enjoy views of the surrounding hills - certified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - from the comfort of some similarly outstanding interiors. Prices start from £225,000 based on 75% equity share (other fees apply).

Audley Ellerslie. Photographs: Audley.co.uk 

9. Inglewood, Berkshire

Inglewood House sits at the centre of this dreamy little retirement village in Berkshire like the cherry on a sundae. With a bistro complete with impressive floral feature walls, and even its own hair salon - so you can look as good as the decor. Prices for pre-owned properties start from £477,950 (other fees apply).

Audley Inglewood. Photographs: Audley.co.uk 

10. St George’s Place, Midlands

Steeped in history and set in the suburbs of Birmingham, with interiors that offer decadence and grandeur - as the old saying goes, why have one Grade II listed Regency villa when you can have two? Prices start from £188,000 based on 75% equity share (other fees apply).

Audley St George’s Place. Photographs: Audley.co.uk 

UK picture perfect retirement homes index

The USA’s top retirement communities 

In the US, entries include Massachusetts homes nestled on the grounds of a historic mansion, a sleek Chicago residence featuring panoramic views of the Hudson River, and a hilltop country club with breathtaking mountainside views and a championship golf course. 

1. Altis, California

Strike the perfect #yogapose at this award-winning space. Altis located in Beaumont California boasts a state of the art movement studio for yoga and stretching, allowing you to live out the California dream every day. Featuring an Instagram-worthy plant wall, modern indoor-outdoor living and royal blue furnishings, this space has plenty to boast about on social media. Prices start from $314,00 (other fees apply)

Atlis. Photographs: pardeehomes.com

2. West 86, New York

If you’ve dreamt of living in the Big Apple, then this luxury Manhattan residence could be for you. Deserving of a #roomswithaview post, these apartments feature a rooftop terrace overlooking the Hudson River and an exclusive penthouse fitness centre with striking skyline views of the City. Offers rental properties only. Prices start from $6,500 per month (other fees apply). 

Atlis. Photographs: pardeehomes.com

3. The Preserve, Arizona

Become a resident at The Preserve and you will never run out of things to do, with loads of amenities on offer at this resort-style community. Featuring mountainside living and spectacular views of natural beauty, these Arizona homes come with access to a championship golf course, hilltop country club, onsite theatre, outdoor pool and whirlpool, tennis courts and outdoor barbecue area. Prices start from $521,900 (other fees apply). 

The Preserve. Photographs: Robson.com

4. Del Webb Bexley, Florida

Live the tranquil lakeside-life at this stylish Florida complex. Walk or bike along the winding trails to the outdoor amphitheatre or dog park to snap an adorable #dogsofinstagram picture. With contemporary monochrome furnishings, smart home technology and the opportunity to personalise your home, Del Webb Bexley is the perfect fit for any lifestyle. Prices start from $254,990 (other fees apply)

Del Webb Bexley. Photographs: Delwebb.com

5. The Clare, Chicago

Located in the heart of Chicago, this eye-catching building provides extraordinary panoramic views brought to life at night by the vibrant city lights. With a mixture of modern-chic and 70’s inspired design aesthetic, keep your feed looking stylish with this luxury residence while enjoying the convenience and cultural attractions Chicago has to offer. Prices start from $300,000 (other fees apply)

The Clare. Photographs: Theclare.com

USA picture perfect retirement homes index

How to finance the picture perfect retirement property

Those who aspire to picture perfect extravagance need to start saving early. With working lives lasting longer and the official retirement age likely to be raised further in coming years, the idea of retiring to a life of luxury is a distant dream for most.

When it comes to planning your retirement, the sooner you set up a private pension and start making contributions to your pensions the better. Try to put in as much as possible, but as you won’t be able to touch the money until you’re 55, you’ll also need to think about balancing what you’ve got coming in with securing your finances for the future.

You can help ensure you have the retirement you want by finding the best personal pension plan to make your money work as hard as it can.

 

Research methodology:

*Prices were based on what was publicly available on 19.10.20

The research was conducted between September - October 2020

Each UK property were scored by the following four factors:

  • Google rankings (as of 22.10.20)

  • Interiors Interiors - taking into consideration style, how the interiors work with period of the property, quality of finish. Exteriors - taking into consideration, architecture, grandeur, uniqueness - +1-10

  • Grade Listing of the Building - Grade I Listed + 6 / Grade II* Listed + 4 / Grade II +2

  • Views of surroundings - ocean + 5 / lake or river view +4 / uninterrupted countryside view/rolling hills etc +3 / countryside with interrupted view +2 / town/city views +1 

  • Facilities (in-house chef or restaurant or bar or bistro +1 per eatery / gardens + 1 / games room or indoor sporting facilities +2 / hair salon + 2 / outdoor sporting facilities +3 / library + 4 / gym or fitness studio + 5 / spa +6 / pool +7 / rooftop terrace + 8 / cinema +9 / close access to beach or lakes <500m +10)

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