Looking for a new hobby in retirement? These 7 are the most popular

By HarperLees

When you’ve been in employment for decades, retirement seems like the shining beacon of relaxation and an opportunity to finally do all those things you’ve wanted to do but didn’t have the time.

It might be pottering about in the garden, sightseeing around the world, or just spending more time with friends and family.

In fact, Statista recently released some interesting data that shows that reading and gardening are the two most popular hobbies for UK retirees.

So, if you’re approaching retirement age and are thinking about all the things you can do when you finally have the time, read on to find out the most popular hobbies amongst UK retirees in 2023.

1. Reading

According to Statista, 59% of UK retirees said they enjoyed reading more than any other hobby.

As well as engaging the brain, reading is a great stress-reliever too. Research by Pacific Standard shows that reading often helps improve capabilities such as attention span, cognition and memory, especially in older people.

By strengthening memory retention, reading can also be an effective way of slowing the degenerative process of Alzheimer’s and dementia by keeping the mind active.

Plus, a good story will take you out of your headspace and give you something to truly focus on.

2. Gardening

According to a recent survey by Saga, almost 50% of UK adults took up gardening as their primary hobby after they reached the age of 50. For those over 65, 47% of them indicated that they primarily considered gardening as their main hobby.

Aside from the obvious benefit of getting some fresh air, gardening is a great way of boosting your mental health too. Not only will it give your mind something to focus on, but it will also give you that great sense of accomplishment if that sweet cherry tomato that you’re biting into with your dinner was grown in your own back garden.

Don’t be put off if you’ve never had green fingers or the desire to spend time in your back garden. There are many tutorials online, including on YouTube, so start small and take it slowly. You could even get the grandchildren involved by planting cress or sunflower seeds as a way of spending time with them.

3. Travelling

Among those over 65, travelling is another popular hobby. In fact, travel during retirement is one of the biggest motivators for adults during employment. When we meet clients it’s often a big part of their plans for when they do decide to retire.

This is supported by a recent report by Aviva that revealed that more than 40% of their respondents considered travel to be at the top of their agenda once they’d retired.

Round the world trips and cruises proved to be very popular, along with seeing specific sights such as the Rocky Mountains in North America, the Great Wall of China, and the Northern Lights.

4. Cooking and baking

Cooking and baking are great ways to unwind and relax. Not only can they help to reduce stress, but movements like kneading bread have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety and help manage and prevent depression.

Decorating is especially important in baking, and this will allow you to truly express yourself, which in turn can improve your mood and calm your mind. Food can also bring back memories of familiarity and celebration, whether that’s memories of cooking for, or with, loved ones.

Finally, cooking and baking during retirement can stimulate your senses and encourage you to enjoy your food more, try new things and build up a healthy appetite; this is something that can be lost as we grow older.

5. Arts and crafts

Whether it’s enjoying arts and crafts in the privacy of your own home or getting involved in classes in your local community, this hobby is a great way of increasing your self-esteem and giving your brain something to focus on. When you finish one of your projects, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction and pride.

Most children love to get creative with hands-on activities, so crafting is a great way of spending time with grandchildren too.

6. Walking

It’s unsurprising that walking is another incredibly popular choice of hobby amongst retired UK adults. A great way to get some exercise, as well as some fresh air, walking is an easy and effective way for you to maintain a healthy weight.

Walking costs absolutely nothing and, as you’re in control, it can be as sedate or as brisk as you want. If your friends also enjoy walking, whether that’s just for 10 minutes close to where you live or a long walk in the countryside, you could turn it into a fun group activity.

Due to the appeal of socialising and exercising at the same time, walking groups like this are becoming more and more popular amongst UK adults.

You could even make a day of it by choosing a walking route that goes past a local pub so that you can stop halfway and have some lunch!

7. Board games and puzzles

Puzzles especially are a very good way of giving your brain a good workout. Whether it’s a challenging crossword puzzle, a word search or even a jigsaw, there are plenty of solo options available to you.

Similarly, if you would prefer to take part in a group activity, puzzles and jigsaws are great activities to share with family members or friends.

Likewise, many UK adults consider board games as one of their most popular hobbies. A report by Saga revealed that more than 20% of over-50s regularly play board games with friends or family members. Even if you’re not someone who enjoys the mental arithmetic associated with Monopoly or the chaotic fun of Pictionary, there’s usually something for everyone.

Get in touch

Speaking with a financial adviser can really help you plan and prepare for your retirement.

To find out how we can help you enjoy the things you want to in retirement, please email info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560.