Where are the Best Places to Downsize in the UK?

Life changes such as the children finally leaving home, or retirement from work can lead to people reconsidering their housing needs. Whether it’s to save money, or simply the desire to have a smaller home and garden to maintain, downsizing can be an exciting opportunity.

Once the decision to downsize has been made, it could be worthwhile considering not just the size of home wanted, but also the location. A new home in a different part of the country with interesting places to explore visit can offer a whole new lease of life.

Consider these two prime locations in England. A town and a city that are very different but enjoy an excellent range of affordable properties available for downsizers, as well as offering an incredible quality of life.

The South Coast

Fareham in Hampshire featured in the top 50 places to live for quality of life in both the Lloyds Banking Group’s Halifax 2019 survey and Yopa’s Retirement Guide. Up 36 places in the same survey from its position in 2018, this is a market town
conveniently located between the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth.

Fareham has a coastal location with easy access to beautiful countryside nearby. Both the South Downs and the New Forest make for great days out, offering a range of leisure activities such as walking, cycling or horse-riding. There are plenty of water-based sports available nearby, from sailing to kayaking and paddle-boarding, the Solent hosts them all.

For history buffs, Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard has a replica of Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory, and the Tudor warship the Mary Rose on display. There are also naval museums, shops, restaurants harbour tours and seasonal events. For those living nearby, it would be worth buying an annual ticket to regularly enjoy everything on offer. No doubt any visiting family or friends would also enjoy this attraction.

The town’s pedestrianised shopping centre and choice of cafes and restaurants are well-regarded. Tripadvisor reviews are positive, with reviewers writing that the range of well-known brands and smaller independent shops holds its own against the competition of the city shopping centres. Parking is plentiful and the town is well-connected by public transport with both a bus and train station. Trains run regularly to local destinations as well as further afield to London Waterloo, Brighton and Cardiff.

This location has a healthy but competitively priced property market. Flats average around £167,000 and smaller houses can be seen on the market for £230,000 plus. Properties for the over 55s are available for under £100,000.

The North West

Further to the north, the city of Chester is a wonderful place to live. Named Deva Victrix by the Romans who founded it as a fortress, the city sits on the banks of River Dee. It is notable, amongst other things, for its amazing black and white architectural buildings and the intact city walls.

The city has an impressive thousand year old catherdral for residents to visit or worship in. Built from sandstone with amazing details externally, it is also worth venturing inside to enjoy the stunning nave and painted roof. Shopping is an upmarket experience. Visit the Rows which have shops in two tiers and photograph the beautiful historic Eastgate Clock which is reputedly the second most photographed clock in the UK, after Big Ben.

For leisure activities, residents are thoroughly spoilt for choice. As well as the usual sports centres and golf courses, the city is home to the Cheshire County Cricket Club and a local football club. For horse-racing fans, the city boasts England’s oldest racecourse, the Roodee, as it is known. The Roodee hosts its most valuable festival meeting in May, with the Dee Stakes used as a Derby trial by top trainers and racehorses.

As Cheshire’s county city, the streets are full of top-quality places to eat and drink including a Michelin starred restaurant, Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor.

Chester has so much going for it, downsizers might find it hard to believe it could have properties to suit the downsized budget. Average prices are very slightly less than in Fareham and pleasant properties can be found on the market for just under £200,000. For those wanting to get the full historic experience, there is a range of beautiful period properties to choose from, but expect to pay more for these, particularly when located nearer the city centre.