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Retirement homes are full of luxury features nowadays

A private lake, an in-house cinema or 450 acres of land – which would you choose?

A retirement village in Kent is ranked in the country’s top three based on a number of factors (see below). Yes, Audley Mote House near Bearsted on the outskirts of Maidstone is in third place and it’s in good company. The retirement village can be found in the 450-acre Mote Park. It has 101 cottages and apartments and, at the heart of it, there is a beautifully restored Grade II listed Georgian mansion (main picture).

The UK’s most luxurious retirement homes have been revealed by comparison website money.co.uk, with the likes of Victorian Gothic mansions and contemporary city-chic flats showing that stylish later living is pushing against stereotypes.

Luxury age-exclusive villages have been on the rise in the UK, offering both community and style. Usually aimed at those 55 and older, these properties provide an independent lifestyle which competes with those of Instagram influencers.

Entries include a Sussex village with its own private lake, a sleek and modern London property with an in-house cinema, and a Grade II Listed Georgian Manor nested across 450 acres of land with breath-taking views of the countryside (that’s Mote House). 

A spot in some of the more premium of these properties may seem a distant dream, but those who aspire to picture-perfect extravagance need to start saving early.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “With our 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 but a distant dream for most.

“However, when it comes to planning your retirement, money should be the first thing on your mind. The sooner you set up and start making contributions to your pensions the better. Always try to put in as much as you can. However, given that 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.”

The Picture Perfect Retirement Homes Index, from money.co.uk, has ranked the UK’s most aesthetically pleasing age-restricted communities, using measures such as 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. 

The Top 10 Most Luxurious Retirement Homes

  1. Nightingale Place, London
  2. Binswood, Warwickshire
  3. Mote House, Kent
  4. Great Alne Park, Warwickshire
  5. Durrants, Sussex
  6. Millbrook, Devon
  7. St Elphin’s House, Derbyshire
  8. Ellerslie, Malvern
  9. Inglewood, Berkshire
  10. St George’s Place, Midlands

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 

For the full list of Instagrammable Retirement Homes in the UK and how you can make the most out of your pensions, can be found in  The Picture Perfect Retirement Homes Index at money.co.uk. 

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 factors:

  • Google rankings (as of 22.10.20)
  • 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 III +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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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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