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How Much Does It Cost To Live In England As A Retiree Expat


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mattie Renfrow



Moving to a new country during retirement can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. If you have set your sights on England as your destination, you may be wondering about the cost of living as a retiree expat. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the expenses you may incur to plan your finances effectively and ensure a comfortable lifestyle.


England, with its rich history, diverse culture, and high standard of living, can be an attractive choice for many retirees. However, it’s essential to take into account the various cost factors that come with living in this beautiful country. From housing to healthcare, transportation to entertainment, understanding the potential expenses can help you make informed decisions about your retirement plans.


In this article, we will explore the different cost aspects of living in England as a retiree expat. We will delve into the costs of housing, healthcare, transportation, food and groceries, utilities, entertainment, taxes, as well as visa and residency requirements. By examining these factors, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the financial implications of retiring in England.


It’s important to remember that the cost of living can vary depending on factors such as the region you choose to live in, your lifestyle choices, and personal preferences. The figures provided in this article serve as general guidelines to give you a starting point for your financial planning.


Ultimately, retiring in England can offer a wonderful quality of life with its diverse cultural scene, beautiful landscapes, and excellent healthcare system. By understanding the potential expenses, you can make the necessary preparations to enjoy a fulfilling retirement as an expat in England.


Cost of Housing

One of the most significant expenses for retirees in England is housing. The cost of housing can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and type of property you choose. In popular cities like London, housing prices tend to be higher compared to other regions in the country. However, there are also more affordable options available in smaller towns and rural areas.


Renting a property is a common choice for expat retirees who may not want to commit to purchasing a home. The rental prices can be steep in cities, especially in prime locations. On average, you can expect to pay around £1,200 to £2,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in central London. In other cities or rural areas, the rental prices can be significantly lower, ranging from £600 to £1,500 per month for a similar-sized property.


If you plan to purchase a property, the cost will depend on various factors such as location, size, and condition. In London, for example, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from £400,000 to over £1 million. Outside of London, prices can be more affordable, with one-bedroom properties ranging from £150,000 to £400,000, depending on the area.


It’s important to consider additional costs associated with housing, such as property taxes, maintenance fees, and insurance. These expenses can vary depending on the property and location. Property taxes, known as council tax, are based on the value of the property and can range from £1,000 to £3,000 per year.


For retirees looking for more affordable housing options, consider exploring regions outside of major cities. Many smaller towns and rural areas offer a lower cost of living and a more peaceful lifestyle. Additionally, considering downsizing or renting a smaller property can help reduce housing costs during retirement.


Keep in mind that currency exchange rates can also impact the cost of housing for expat retirees. It’s important to stay informed about exchange rate fluctuations and consider the potential impact on your retirement budget.


Overall, the cost of housing in England can be a significant expense. Careful research and planning can help you find a housing option that fits your budget and offers a comfortable retirement lifestyle.


Cost of Healthcare

When considering retiring in England, it’s important to factor in the cost of healthcare. England has a National Health Service (NHS), which provides healthcare services to residents, including retirees. While the NHS offers free healthcare to all residents, there may still be some out-of-pocket expenses to consider.


As an expat retiree, you may be eligible for free NHS healthcare if you have successfully obtained permanent residency in England. However, if you have not yet obtained permanent residency, you may need to consider private health insurance to cover your medical expenses. The cost of private health insurance can vary depending on factors such as your age, overall health, and the extent of coverage you require.


Private health insurance plans in England typically cover additional benefits such as faster access to specialist care and private hospital facilities. The cost of private health insurance can range from £500 to £2,000 per year, depending on the level of coverage and individual circumstances.


In addition to health insurance, there may also be out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and dental treatments. The NHS offers prescription medications at a subsidized cost, with a standard prescription charge of £9 per item. Dental treatments under the NHS are also available at subsidized rates, with fees ranging from £23 to £269, depending on the treatment required.


It’s important to note that as an expat retiree, you are entitled to the same healthcare services as any other resident in England. This means you can access a wide range of healthcare services and specialists. However, it’s crucial to research and understand the specific healthcare options available in the area where you plan to reside.


Furthermore, it’s advisable to consider the cost of healthcare services if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or require ongoing treatments. Discussing your healthcare needs with a professional financial advisor can help you plan for potential healthcare costs during your retirement.


Overall, while healthcare in England is generally affordable and accessible, it’s essential to consider any potential costs associated with private health insurance, prescription medications, and dental treatments. By understanding these factors, you can ensure that you have the necessary financial resources to maintain your health and well-being during your retirement in England.


Cost of Transportation

Transportation is an important aspect to consider when planning for your retirement in England. The country has a well-developed transportation system that includes options like public transport, private vehicles, and taxis.


Public transport is a popular choice among retirees as it provides convenience and cost-effectiveness. The cost of public transportation can vary depending on the mode of transport and the distance traveled. In major cities, such as London, you can utilize the extensive network of buses, underground trains (known as the Tube), and overground trains. The cost of a single fare on public transport varies, but as of 2021, a single fare on the London Underground starts at £2.40, while a bus fare starts at £1.50. It’s worth considering purchasing a travelcard or an Oyster card, which offers discounted fares for regular travelers.


If you prefer having your own vehicle, it’s important to budget for the costs associated with car ownership. This includes expenses such as vehicle purchase or lease, maintenance, fuel, and insurance. The cost of purchasing a car in England can vary depending on the make, model, and condition. On average, the cost for a new car can range from £12,000 to £30,000. Additionally, there are ongoing costs to consider, such as vehicle tax, which is based on the car’s emissions, and insurance premiums, which depend on factors like age, driving history, and location.


For retirees who prefer not to drive, taxis and ride-hailing services such as Uber are readily available in England. The cost of using these services depends on the distance traveled and the time of day. Taxis and ride-hailing services offer convenience, though they can be more expensive compared to public transportation.


Another factor to consider is the cost of long-distance travel within and outside of England. Train travel is a popular choice for domestic and international travel, with options such as the National Rail service and the Eurostar train service connecting England to mainland Europe. The cost of train travel can vary depending on the distance, time of travel, and class of service. It’s advisable to plan your travel in advance to take advantage of discounted fares.


In summary, the cost of transportation in England will largely depend on your chosen mode of transport and frequency of travel. Public transportation offers cost-effective options, while owning a private vehicle comes with additional expenses. It’s important to consider your transportation needs and budget accordingly to ensure a smooth and affordable experience during your retirement in England.


Cost of Food and Groceries

When it comes to the cost of food and groceries, England offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. The expenses can vary depending on factors such as the type of establishment you choose to dine in, the region you live in, and your personal shopping habits.


Eating out at restaurants can be quite expensive, especially in popular cities like London. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant can cost around £40 to £60, excluding drinks. However, there are also more affordable dining options available, such as local cafes and pubs, where you can enjoy a meal for around £10 to £20 per person.


For those who prefer cooking at home, the cost of groceries can vary depending on the supermarket you shop at and your choice of ingredients. Supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda offer a variety of affordable options. On average, a weekly grocery bill for one person can range from £30 to £50, depending on dietary preferences and consumption habits.


To save money on groceries, it’s beneficial to plan your meals, make a shopping list, and take advantage of discounts and promotions. Many supermarkets offer loyalty programs and special discounts for senior citizens, which can further reduce your grocery expenses.


Additionally, farmers’ markets and local produce shops are a great way to support local businesses and find fresh, affordable produce. Shopping at these places can often be cheaper than supermarkets, especially for fruits and vegetables.


It’s worth noting that the cost of dining out and grocery shopping may vary depending on the region you live in. Major cities tend to have higher prices compared to smaller towns and rural areas. It’s advisable to research the local cost of living in your chosen location to get a better understanding of the food and grocery expenses you may incur.


Overall, the cost of food and groceries in England can be manageable depending on your choices and shopping habits. By being mindful of your spending and exploring different options, you can enjoy delicious meals and maintain a balanced budget during your retirement in England.


Cost of Utilities

When estimating the cost of living in England as a retiree expat, it’s important to consider the expenses associated with utilities. These include electricity, gas, water, and internet services. The cost of utilities can vary depending on factors such as the size of your property, your energy consumption habits, and the region you live in.


Electricity and gas bills are major components of the utilities expenses. On average, a one-bedroom apartment can have monthly utility bills ranging from £50 to £100. This estimate can increase for larger properties or during colder months when more heating is required. It’s important to note that energy-efficient appliances and insulation can help reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.


Water bills in England are typically calculated based on the property’s rateable value or by a metered usage system. On average, water bills can range from £20 to £40 per month, depending on the number of people in the household and the water usage.


Internet services are crucial for staying connected, and the cost varies depending on the provider and the package you choose. Broadband internet packages can range from £20 to £40 per month, depending on the speed and additional services included.


It’s important to budget for these utility expenses to ensure that you can comfortably cover these ongoing costs during your retirement. Additionally, some properties may also have additional fees or service charges for amenities such as parking, communal areas, or security systems. It’s advisable to inquire about these charges when looking for accommodation.


To optimize utility costs, consider energy-efficient practices such as turning off lights and appliances when not in use, using natural light and ventilation, and investing in energy-saving devices. Additionally, research and compare different utility providers to find the most cost-effective options for your needs.


As with any expense, utility costs can vary depending on your location and personal usage. It’s important to research the local rates and evaluate your consumption patterns to have a realistic understanding of the utility expenses you may incur during your retirement in England.


By monitoring and managing your utility expenses smartly, you can maintain a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle while keeping your overall cost of living manageable.


Cost of Entertainment and Leisure Activities

Retiring in England provides an array of options for entertainment and leisure activities to enjoy your newfound free time. From cultural experiences to outdoor adventures, there are activities to suit various interests and budgets. The cost of entertainment and leisure activities can vary depending on the specific activity and location.


England offers a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and historical sites to explore. Many museums and galleries offer free admission or discounted rates for senior citizens. The cost of visiting paid attractions can range from £5 to £20 per person, depending on the attraction and any special exhibitions or events.


If you enjoy attending live performances, England’s cities have a thriving theater scene, with a range of productions, from West End shows in London to regional theater performances. Ticket prices for theater shows can vary widely, with options available for different budget ranges, starting from around £20 per ticket for local productions.


For outdoor enthusiasts, England’s countryside provides ample opportunities for activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring scenic landscapes. These activities are generally free or require minimal costs for equipment rental or transportation. National parks and nature reserves offer stunning natural attractions and often have entry fees ranging from £5 to £10 per person, depending on the park.


England is also known for its love of sports, with football, rugby, cricket, and tennis being popular among locals. Attending live sports events can be an exciting experience, with ticket prices varying depending on the sport, venue, and the level of the game. Prices for sports event tickets can range from £20 to £100 or more, depending on the event’s popularity, seating location, and the teams playing.


In terms of dining out and socializing, England has a wide range of options to suit different tastes and budgets. From casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, there are choices for every preference. The cost of dining out can vary depending on the establishment and your food and drink choices. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around £20 to £40 per person.


Entertainment and leisure activities can also include membership to clubs, gyms, and community centers. The cost of membership varies depending on the facility and services offered. Some community centers offer seniors’ discounts or specific membership plans for retirees at reduced rates.


Overall, the cost of entertainment and leisure activities in England can vary depending on your personal preferences and the specific activities you choose to engage in. With careful planning, you can enjoy a fulfilling retirement by exploring the rich cultural experiences, enjoying outdoor pursuits, and socializing with like-minded individuals without breaking your budget.


Cost of Taxes

As a retiree expat living in England, it’s important to understand the tax implications and expenses associated with your retirement income. The tax system in England is complex and can vary depending on your specific circumstances, including your residency status, the source of your income, and any tax agreements between your home country and England.


In England, income tax is levied on a progressive scale, which means that the more you earn, the higher your tax rate. The tax rates for the 2021/2022 tax year are as follows:

  • Basic rate: 20% on income between £12,570 and £50,270
  • Higher rate: 40% on income between £50,270 and £150,000
  • Additional rate: 45% on income above £150,000

As a retiree, your income may come from pensions, savings, investments, or rental properties. The specific tax treatment of these sources of income will depend on various factors. For example, the State Pension is taxable, but certain private pensions may have different tax rules. It’s advisable to consult with a tax advisor or financial professional to understand the specifics of your tax obligations.


In addition to income tax, there are other taxes to consider. Council tax is a local tax based on the value of your property. The amount you pay depends on your property’s valuation band and the local authority you live in. The council tax rates can range from £800 to £3,000 per year on average, but this can vary significantly depending on the location and property value.


Value Added Tax (VAT) is also applicable on many goods and services in England. The standard VAT rate is 20%, although some items may have a reduced rate of 5% or be exempt from VAT. It’s important to consider the impact of VAT on your daily expenses and factor it into your budgeting.


If you have investments or assets in England, you may also need to consider capital gains tax and inheritance tax. These taxes can apply to gains made from selling investments or receiving assets as part of an inheritance. The rates and allowances for these taxes can vary, so it’s recommended to seek professional advice to ensure compliance and optimize your tax planning.


It’s worth noting that if you are entitled to a state pension from another country, you may need to consider the tax implications of that income as well. Some countries have tax agreements with England to prevent double taxation, while others do not. Understanding the tax regulations between your home country and England is crucial to avoid any unexpected tax liabilities.


It’s prudent to consult with a tax professional who specializes in international tax matters to ensure that you understand and comply with the tax requirements in both England and your home country. By properly managing your tax obligations, you can optimize your retirement income and ensure financial stability during your retirement in England.


Cost of Visa and Residency

If you are planning to retire in England as an expat, it is essential to consider the cost of visas and residency requirements. The specific requirements and costs can vary depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay.


For citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland, the process of moving to and residing in England has significantly changed since the UK’s departure from the EU. As of January 1, 2021, most EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to secure their residency rights in England. The application fee for the EU Settlement Scheme is £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under the age of 16. Successful applicants will be granted either settled status or pre-settled status, depending on the length of their residence in the UK.


For non-EU/EEA citizens, the requirements and costs will depend on the specific visa category you apply for. The most common visa options for retirees are the Tier 1 Investor Visa and the Tier 2 General Work Visa. The Tier 1 Investor Visa requires a significant investment of at least £2 million, while the Tier 2 General Work Visa is typically sponsored by an employer. The associated costs for these visas can include application fees, healthcare surcharges, as well as costs for obtaining medical certificates and English language proficiency tests. The visa fees can range from £464 for a Tier 2 General Visa to £1,623 for a Tier 1 Investor Visa, with additional costs for dependents.


It is important to note that visa and residency costs can change over time, so it is advisable to consult the official UK government website or seek professional advice to get the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding your specific circumstances.


In addition to the visa costs, there may be other expenses related to relocation and settling in England. These can include costs for finding suitable accommodation, transportation, healthcare registration, and possible language classes. It is crucial to factor in these additional expenses when planning your budget for retiring in England.


Retiring in England as an expat can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to be prepared for the visa and residency costs associated with living in the country legally. By understanding the requirements and budgeting for these expenses, you can ensure a smooth transition and enjoy your retirement in England with peace of mind.



Retiring in England as an expat can offer a fulfilling and enriching experience, but it’s important to consider the various costs that come with living in the country. From housing to healthcare, transportation to entertainment, taxes to visa and residency requirements, understanding these expenses is crucial for effective financial planning and ensuring a comfortable retirement lifestyle.


The cost of housing in England can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and type of property you choose. Renting or purchasing a home is a significant expense to consider, and it’s important to budget for additional costs such as property taxes, maintenance fees, and insurance.


Healthcare costs in England can also impact your retirement budget. While the National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare to residents, it’s important to understand if you are eligible or if you need to have private health insurance to cover your medical expenses.


Transportation costs, including public transport or owning a vehicle, should also be taken into account. Budgeting for transportation expenses like fuel, maintenance, and insurance is important for smooth and convenient travel around the country.


When it comes to food and groceries, the cost can vary depending on your dining preferences and shopping habits. Eating out at restaurants or cooking at home both have associated expenses, and being mindful of your spending can help manage these costs effectively.


Utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and internet services, are ongoing expenses that should be factored into your budget. Planning for these costs can help you maintain a comfortable lifestyle while managing your finances.


Entertainment and leisure activities provide opportunities for cultural experiences, outdoor pursuits, and socializing. Understanding the costs of activities such as visiting museums, attending performances, or participating in sports can help you plan accordingly and make the most of your retirement in England.


Finally, considering the cost of taxes, including income tax, council tax, VAT, and other potential taxes, is crucial. Consulting a tax professional can help you navigate the complexities of the tax system and optimize your retirement income.


In conclusion, retiring in England as an expat can offer a high standard of living and a range of opportunities for an enjoyable retirement. By understanding and budgeting for the various costs discussed in this article, you can make informed decisions, plan your finances effectively, and create a comfortable and fulfilling retirement lifestyle in England.