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The best place to retire? West Sussex named number one destination for pensioners to live

It offers a near-perfect mix of historic towns, quaint villages and stunning countryside.

Add in a beautiful coastline, a low crime rate and good life-expectancy, and it’s clear why West Sussex is such a retirement hotspot.

The county, which includes Chichester, Arundel and Midhurst, is one of the sunniest parts of the UK – and has been named the best place to be a pensioner.

West Sussex has a low crime rate and is also home to the Nyetime vineyard (pictured)

It beat three other counties on the South Coast – Dorset, East Sussex and the Isle of Wight – to head Prudential’s Retirement Quality of Life index for England and Wales for the second year running.

Only three of the top ten in the 2018 index, which is compiled from an analysis of government and NHS figures, are not in the South. None is in the North or Wales.

The index looked at factors including the numbers of retirees living and moving there, access to healthcare, crime levels, disability-free life expectancy, pension income, happiness and how many residents pursue a healthy lifestyle.

West Sussex is so popular with pensioners that nearly a quarter of the population is over 65, compared with the national average of 18 per cent. Retirees have a median income of £21,400 a year and can look forward to an average 12.3 years of good health. More than three-quarters of residents rate their happiness as high.

The county also enjoys the beauty of magnolias, such as the above at Nymans in West Sussex

The county also enjoys the beauty of magnolias, such as the above at Nymans in West Sussex

The top ten

  1. West Sussex
  2. Dorset
  3. East Sussex
  4. Isle of Wight
  5. Norfolk
  6. Devon
  7. Worcestershire
  8. Oxfordshire
  9. Somerset
  10. Shropshire 

The main drawback is that property prices, while lower than in London and the commuter belt, are still much higher than in other favourite retirement spots such as Devon, Cornwall, East Anglia, Shropshire or Worcestershire. Prudential retirement expert Kirsty Anderson said: ‘Retirement is an exciting time for many, but it does come with major decisions which should not be taken lightly. Finding the right location is tricky but extremely important.’

According to Prudential, the county which has leapt most in the rankings since last year is Leicestershire, up 14 places to 32nd.

Kent had the biggest fall, down 13 places to 35th, while Durham dropped 12 to 52nd and Gloucestershire fell 10 to 22nd.