While many expats that immigrated to the UK are attracted to the work and study opportunities in the big cities, others, especially expats approaching retirement age, look for quality of life in the quieter villages of the country. The Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey investigates the quality of life in the rural areas of the United Kingdom and rates them accordingly. The survey comes out annually and compares the crime rate, employment and other measures of general happiness in order to determine which rural areas in the UK offer the best quality of life. Here are the top contenders.
Rural areas in the UK with the best quality of life
- Orkney Islands, Scotland
For the second year running, the Orkney Islands in Scotland have come in top position. The islands score highly when it comes to quality of education, high personal satisfaction, low unemployment (with the employment rate sitting at 87%) and low crime rates. The Orkney Islands are an archipelago just of Scotland’s north-eastern coast and are famous for their seal colonies, magnificent wide-open spaces and Neolithic sites.
- Rutland, East Midlands
Rutland in the East Midlands is surrounded by Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire and is England’s smallest county with two ancient market towns, Oakham and Uppingham, which are famous for their local produce and wildlife. Rutland offers a multitude of leisure pursuits including water sports, cycling, fishing and bird watching and is arguably England’s prettiest county.
- Wychavon, West Midlands
Wychavon is a local government district in Worcestershire and has three towns, Evesham, Droitwich Spa and Pershore. The area has a population of around 116,900 and a much lower population density than the rest of the West Midlands and England. Crime in the area is also much lower than the national average. Life expectancy is higher than the national average with men living to around 80 years old and females reaching around 83 years compared to the national average of 77 and 81 respectively.
- Winchester, South East
Winchester is located in Hampshire and is known for its medieval cathedral, which has a 17th century Morley Library and a Norman crypt. It is an area steeped in history and is home to the Great Hall of Winchester, which houses the medieval roundtable linked to King Arthur. John Keats lived for a while in Winchester and legend has it that he was inspired to write Ode to Autumn while walking through the water meadows in the areas. People also travel for miles to stock up at Winchester’s fortnightly Farmers’ Market – one of the biggest in the UK.
- Waverley, South East
The Borough of Waverley is a local government district with borough status in Surrey, England. The borough’s headquarters are in the town of Godalming. In 2016 it was named in the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index as the “the most prosperous place” to live in the UK and is an area know for its beautiful rural landscape, high-quality housing and excellent schools – all within easy reach of London.
How to cash in your South African retirement annuity in the UK
If moving to a quiet, rural location appeals to you, you’ll be pleased to know that as a South African expat living in the UK, you can access your South African retirement annuity abroad – even before you turn the age of 55 – due to a change in tax legislation that came into effect in 2008. The only proviso is that you have financially emigrated from South Africa. Financial emigration does not change your status as a South African. You and your partner will still have South African citizenship and your South African passports. What’s more, financial emigration can take place at any time – on your exit from South Africa or many years after you have chosen to live abroad.
At FinGlobal we have simplified the financial emigration process for thousands of South Africans living abroad and have helped them cash in their retirement annuities so they can make the most of their retirement abroad. To find out more about how we can assist you with this financial emigration process, contact us today.