What to do in retirement: Hobbies, activities & inspiring retirement ideas

Whether you are aiming to take early retirement or are unclear about your retirement plans at this point, it’s an exciting prospect to plan and prepare for ahead of time.

Retirement can unlock a wealth of opportunities and bring about life-long ambition fulfilment and experiences if planned well – it really is what you make it.

From retirement hobbies and simple pleasures to finally visiting those places you’ve never had the time to, we’ve compiled a host of activities and ideas to inspire your retirement planning.

Things to do at the start of your retirement

Reaching retirement can, at times, feel overwhelming. After all, you have likely been used to your work routine for most of your life, and for this to suddenly change and the familiar structure you once knew to be gone, it is common to feel lost within the first few weeks or months.

However, when it comes to things to do in retirement, it is a comfort to know that the opportunities really are endless. There are a host of retirement activities and hobbies to get involved with and your newfound free time can unlock the chance to fulfil life-long goals and ambitions.

There are some important things to remember to put in place at the start of your retirement which will not only help you feel prepared but will also set you up for the remainder of your upcoming retirement years:

Claim your state pension

One of the most important things to do when you first retire is to claim your State Pension.

You will not receive your State Pension automatically. You should receive a letter no later than 2 months before you have reached State Pension age, outlining what to do and the next steps.

However, if you haven’t received your invitation letter, but you are within 4 months of reaching your State Pension age, you’ll still be able to claim it.

You need to claim your State Pension through the government’s Pension Service. While the quickest way to claim your State Pension is to apply online, you can also call the Pension Service for them to send a form to you in the post.

If you choose to continue working, you’re still able to claim your State Pension, however, you also have the option to defer receiving your pension to increase the amount you’ll receive. There are also different guidelines to follow if you are looking to claim your State Pension from abroad. Contact the Pension Service for more information. 

Adjusting to a fixed income

Retirement brings with it a host of adjustments, one of which is the idea of getting used to a fixed income. Getting an accurate idea of how much income you have on a weekly and monthly basis to cover your bills and essentials is important.

It is also vital to give yourself some time and breathing space to adjust to this – getting used to living on a fixed income and how life looks as a result takes time. Once you’ve worked out what is manageable and adjusted to how to best live within these means, this should relieve a lot of uncertainty and make the start of your retirement feel more manageable.

Get a part-time job

It is completely acceptable to enjoy the structure and routine of working, as well as the camaraderie and chance to meet new people.

If this sounds like you, why not consider getting yourself a part-time job?

Whether you go for a couple of mornings a week or commit to full days, you are sure to find a rewarding position that maintains your work structure and also benefits you financially. There are a host of possible part-time job options for retirees, such as:

  • Shop assistant
  • Meeting and greeting in a commercial or business setting
  • Freelance writer
  • Gardener
  • Seasonal worker, such as at a National Trust site or national park

Ideas for retirement hobbies

The great thing about retirement is that it unlocks time that you previously didn’t have to think about new hobbies or retirement activities that you’ve never had the time to try.

When it comes to retirement hobbies, you’re spoilt for choice:


Always wanted to witness the captivating Northern Lights? Or perhaps you’ve dreamt of meandering through The Vatican before taking in some of Rome’s many architectural highlights? Whatever dreams you have of visiting faraway places, retirement offers the perfect opportunity to achieve these and fill up your photo album.

Whether home or abroad, there are bound to be ample places you’ve always wanted to visit. Now is the time to reach for the suitcase and experience them!  


It is always tricky to fit in a consistent exercise routine while working. Now you have reached retirement, you can exercise more and put your physical health first. Unlocking a new regular exercise routine is one of the most popular retirement hobbies, and brings with it a wealth of physical, psychological, and emotional health benefits.

Whether you want to join your local gym, sign up for classes, or team up with your friends to hit the tennis courts, there are a wealth of activities open to all ages so you can find your perfect match.

Learn to cook

Always fancied yourself as a bit of a culinary whizz but never had the time to delve into your cookbook collection? Now is the time to either take to the online world of cookery tutorials or perhaps enrol in a cookery course at a local college or cookery school.

It’s never too late to unleash your inner Gordon Ramsay and impress your friends and family by hosting a delicious dinner party.

Learn a new language

Work-life can often get in the way of us putting some time aside to learn or develop a new skill that we’ve had our hearts set on for years.

Learning a language is a fun and rewarding way to meet new people and learn a new skill. It also pushes your brain to familiarise itself with brand new vocabulary and grammar and makes travel abroad much easier and enjoyable.

You can find out more information on language classes in your local area online or by visiting your local library or contacting nearby colleges and universities.

Inspiring and unique retirement ideas

Move somewhere new

Dreamt of waking up to lush, rolling hills or the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city?

Often, we find ourselves constrained by the demands and location of our jobs. However, once you retire, you are free to up and move to wherever you like! This makes upping and moving to a new destination one of the most popular retirement activities. Go on, grab that passport and make it happen!


What could be more rewarding than spending more quality time with your grandchildren or great-grandchildren?

Not only will babysitting unlock more time for fun and smiles with your grandchildren, but it’ll also help your children out and give them a break – it’s a win-win!

Get a new furry friend

Offering constant joy and guaranteed fun and exercise, ever thought about enjoying your retirement with a furry friend by your side?

A four-legged friend will not only give you companionship but also bring a wealth of benefits to your mental and physical health. Perhaps you have always longed to be a proud dog owner but have been unable to due to work commitments. Now is the time to spend time enriching your and your dog’s life and carve out a new and exciting routine for you both.  

Become a volunteer

If you like the idea of doing something in the community but not necessarily after a part-time job, you could look into becoming a volunteer instead.

Volunteering can be a rewarding and fun way to spend some of your free time. You’ll not only be meeting new people and enjoying structure throughout your week, but you will also be doing something highly appreciated for a great cause.

There are a host of volunteer opportunities open to you across your local community in a wealth of different settings. Find a cause or non-profit that is close to your heart and look to see if they accept volunteers.

Keep an allotment

Maintaining an allotment is a popular and rewarding way to grow your own fruit and vegetables, make friends and increase your social circle.

While the waiting lists for allotments are long, if you can get one from your local council or a private landlord, they unlock a wealth of benefits including:

  • Eating more homegrown, pesticide-free fruit and vegetables
  • A great form of exercise
  • It helps the environment and reduces your carbon footprint
  • Building a sense of community and making new friends
  • Creates a structure and a routine to your day
  • Saves you money
  • It gets you out in the fresh air

If you are interested in joining a waiting list to keep an allotment, contact your local council to find out more.