How to make the most of retirement

Retired couple sitting on a wall on holiday

Enjoy your golden years in style
Image: Daniel Myjones

Retiring? With the curtain falling on your professional life, now’s your chance to finally get around to fulfilling your dreams. Take up a new hobby, get back to nature, hit the road – whatever you always wanted to do but never had time for – now is the time. Need a little inspiration? Here are some great ideas for things to do, courtesy of some of our favourite bloggers.

British Bird Lovers

Nature photo of an owl

Find out how to go owling
Image source: British Bird Lovers

Wondering when’s the best time to go looking for owls? A clear, moonlit night in late summer or early autumn is best, say the guys at British Bird Lovers. Or, if you’re looking to spot one in the depths of winter – you’re best off going by ear.

If you’re thinking of taking up birdwatching, or want to give your favourite hobby more time now you’re retiring, you’ll find loads of info here. Check out these tips for novice birders or for those thinking of rewarding themselves with a retirement holiday, have you thought about birdwatching in Wales? With its stunning coast, you’ll see puffins, fulmars, razorbills and more.

On the Hills

South Downs photo from Glyn at On the Hills

Check out Glyn’s hill walks for beginners
Image source: On the Hills

What’s eccentric about hill walking? And why does it make you so sore the next day? It’s because walking downhill puts your muscles under load when they’re in their lengthened state – as opposed to when you grind your way up hill – that’s concentric exercise.

On the Hills is a fantastic resource for anyone thinking of taking up walking. Find the answers to all your hillwalking questions in one place, conveniently pitched at the right age bracket. From basic map reading to some of the best routes to explore, here you’ll find expert advice from lifelong walker and ‘Outdoor Personality of the Year’ nominee Glyn Dodwell.

Our Tour

Mountainside at Monserrat in Spain

Room with a view – park on the mountainside at Montserrat in Spain
Image source: Our Tour

If, now you’re retired, you’re keen to hit the road in your motorhome but would like to get an idea of how much a tour of, say, France and Spain is likely to cost, how does three months for a very frugal £3707.46 sound? Our Tour gives you the lowdown on the routes, the places to visit and the price tag – very handy info for the newly nomadic and experienced travellers alike.

Our Tour is the brainchild of an ordinary couple from Nottinghamshire who managed to retire in their early forties to take up full time motorhome travel across Britain and Europe. Not sure if you can afford to jack in your job and retire a bit early? Check out Julie and Jason Buckley’s free ebook – Funding Freedom – a highly illuminating read.


Tree lined avenue in Victoria Park, London

Experience the mysteries of trees through music
Image source: Corymbus

Forests are both beautiful and daunting,” writes Simon Brackenborough, founder and editor of Corymbus. You’ll love Simon’s post about the music of trees. For a piece evoking the mysteries of the dark wood, try listening to Toru Takemitsu’s “Tree Line” for chamber orchestra, a brooding yet elegant work in which the composer pays homage to the acacia trees surrounding his mountain workshop.

If you’re looking for context, and classical music listening recommendations, Corymbus gives you just what you need – a resource to help you broaden and deepen your knowledge of music.

Charles Dowding

No dig and digged beds from Charles Dowding

No dig bed in front, dig bed behind, with same plantings and same amount of compost for each bed.
Image source: Charles Dowding

No digging, fewer weeds, plentiful harvests – does that sound like exactly the kind of gardening you’d like to do now you’re retiring? “Start small,” says master of the no-dig method, Charles Dowding. “Even one bed of 1.2×2.4m can grow a lot of food.”

That’s great advice and your invitation to turn everything you thought you knew about gardening on its head. Do you ache after you’ve turned your soil over? Maybe it’s time you ditched your fork. An excellent resource for all things no-dig – check out Charles’ online no-dig course in which he passes on his accumulated knowledge from a lifetime of gardening this way.

Paul Sellers

Dovetail joint from Shutterstock

Woodworking is a great hobby to take up in your twilight years
Image source: Vadim Lukin

Can’t saw in a straight line? Don’t worry – master craftsman Paul Sellers will show you how. Your first ten strokes set up your cut says Paul. Take your time with these and follow the rest of his tips outlined in the free video tutorial, and you’ll soon be cutting perfect parallels with a hand saw.

For anyone thinking of taking up carpentry, Paul Sellers has to be your go-to for online instruction. With videos, projects, and video courses covering everything from the basics of planing through to masterclasses for accomplished craftsmen, Paul is a friendly, easy to follow presenter with a passion for making woodworking accessible.

The Sealed Knot

English Civil War reenactor's helmets sit on the grass. Pikes are in the background

Join in the civil war action and bring history alive
Image source: Peter F. R. Forster

Join the Cavaliers or Roundheads on the march by joining The Sealed Knot, the UK’s oldest re-enactment society, and the biggest historical army in Europe. If history is your thing, you’ll love the attention to detail that goes into everything from recreating 17th century uniforms, to researching the manners, customs, and religious and cultural practices of the day.

If you just fancy seeing the armies in action, make sure you check out the calendar of events around the country. But be warned, the whiff of musket smoke will soon have you reaching for your sword!

Model Railway Engineer

Closeup of model railway

Retirement is the time to indulge your passion for model railways
Image source: Peteri

What do Tom Hanks, Rod Stewart, Peter Sellers, Pete Waterman, Johnny Cash, Winston Churchill, David Hasselhoff and Frank Sinatra have in common? Yes, you’ve got it; they’re all model railway enthusiasts. Which begs the question: given its obvious street cred, isn’t it time you indulged your secret passion for miniature trains?

More than a mere trainset, a model railway is whatever you make it – from basic set-up to hyper realistic scale model, Andy Leaning of Model Railway Engineer has the advice and expertise to get you to your destination. Looking for help with layout? Take a look at Andy’s guide –  how to build a model railway. Friendly, informative and fun – this is a great gateway to your new hobby.


Man with astronomy telescope looking at the stars.

Learn to unlock the mysteries of the galaxy
Image source: Allexxandar

If you’re fed up with being unable to answer the grandkids’ questions about Uranus, you’ve come to the right place. For example, it was only discovered in 1781 because, until the advent of powerful telescopes, nobody noticed it, despite the fact that it’s visible with the naked eye on very dark nights.

A knowledge of the night sky makes for fascinating dinner conversation, and stargazing is a fun way to spend your evenings. With insightful articles on everything from buying your first telescope to how to take your hobby to new heights by learning to search for stars by their coordinates, Jack Bennett’s website Stargazing has real star quality.

Homebrew Answers

Midas Touch Ancient Ale from Home Brew Answers

This braggot recipe was gleaned from the microbial deposits on vessels from the tomb of Phrygian king Midas
Image source: Home Brew Answers

Ever tasted a braggot? Fermenting a mixture of honey and grain is a practice so old the ancient Sumerians mentioned it in their Hymn to Ninkasi the goddess of beer, a poem that dates to 1800BC. If you’d like to have a go at making your own version of this ancient beverage, Homebrew Answers has a recipe you can try.

There can’t be too many of us men for whom beer does not hold at least a passing interest. But for those who’d like to take matters further, visit Neil’s website to learn how to brew a beer that’ll have your friends coming back for more. Anyone for a hazy IPA?

Hedgerow Harvest

Basket of elderberries

Who needs cold and flu remedies when elderberry syrup does a better job?
Image source: Hedgerow Harvest

Can you tell deadly Hemlock and tasty Alexanders apart? Or differentiate between a delicious wild mushroom and a lethal Destroying Angel or aptly named Deathcap? No? Perhaps you could use a course in hedgerow foraging – if so, James Feaver of Hedgerow Harvest can help.

Could you make a tasty meal from foraged ingredients? One of the joys of retirement is the freedom to spend more time in nature, and what better way to reacquaint yourself with your wild self after all those years chained to an office desk, than by learning to live off the land? Hedgerow Harvest shows you how. But remember to book in your spot, as these courses fill up quickly!

We hope our selection of blogs has given you plenty of food for thought. Retirement is a major watershed moment, but with plenty to keep you busy, interested, and active, there’s every reason to believe that the next chapter of your life will be your best yet

Posted in Men's lifestyle.

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