What are retirement villages?

Retirement villages offer independence with flexibility for people aged 55 or older, whether they’re completely self-sufficient or in need of support.

Typically, retirement villages provide a variety of self-contained homes which may be rented or bought on a leasehold basis.

A wide range of facilities, plus flexible care options, are all set within a village-style neighbourhood. You get to choose the lifestyle, amount of community involvement and level of help you want. You get peace of mind, too – extra care is readily available close by, should you need more support in the future.

The best retirement villages in the UK are designed to feel like real local communities. Many are built around a central building with facilities including restaurant, bistro, bar, spa, swimming pool and more.


Why consider a retirement village?

Choosing your best retirement option – independent living, nursing homes or care homes, living with relatives or in sheltered accommodation – is an important decision which depends on many individual requirements.

Here are the main pros and cons of life in a retirement community.



  • Independence: you enjoy all the comfort, security and privacy of living in your own home, whether rented or owned.
  • Finances: if you buy you can hold on to your asset, offering security.
  • Lifestyle: you are free to choose the lifestyle, community involvement and level of help you want.
  • Facilities: all the essential services and leisure facilities you need are available on-site.
  • Access to care: should you ever need extra help and support, it’s easy to access flexible care in your own home by a familiar, trusted provider.
  • Maintenance: all the upkeep and gardening are taken care of for you.
  • Accommodation: your home is self-contained and designed with your future needs in mind, such as safety and accessibility.
  • Peace of mind: research has shown that living in retirement villages and extra-care houses can halve the likelihood of having to live in institutional care in the future.*


*Establishing the extra in Extra Care report published September 2011 by the International Longevity Centre, an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. See



  • Finances: ground rent is usually payable to the freeholder. Monthly service charges and a deferred management fee – a percentage of the sale price of your home payable if and when you sell – may be charged. Regular charges help keep facilities maintained and avoid charges for structural repairs and building works. Deferred management fees help to keep regular charges manageable.
  • Accommodation: some retirement villages may offer small gardens attached to individual properties. Others instead offer extensive grounds which are maintained for you. You might miss having a large garden of your own.

Are retirement villages a new idea?

It might seem that way, but retirement villages have long been common in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. In fact the concept dates back to the 1920s.

Interest in UK retirement communities has increased in recent decades, however, as retirees seek a “middle way” to maintain independence with extra support.


Is a retirement village right for you?

Only you can answer that, but if you’re interested in life in an Audley village, we can certainly help you decide.

All our retirement villages and available properties are listed on our website, and you can arrange a viewing online or by telephone.

We have 19 retirement villages in the UK, in desirable locations from Devon to Derbyshire and London to Leeds. Have a look at what’s available and when you’re ready to talk we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.