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Seeing the Northern Lights and cruises top the travel bucket list for retirees

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Seeing the Northern Lights, travelling around the country by train and going on safari are just some of the things on the average retiree’s holiday bucket list. A survey of 2,000 people has revealed a top 25 list of all the travel ambitions people have for the years after they leave work.

Despite moving into their later years, hiking around the world to nine different locations and travelling Europe in a campervan are high on the list for many upon retirement.

While some die-hard romantics dream of re-visiting their original honeymoon destination or renewing their wedding vows.

The majority of people see retirement as an opportunity to fulfil all the dreams they’ve held for years and years, but haven’t had time to carry out, with 62% hopeful they’ll be able to ‘fulfil all their dreams’.

And despite an adventurous list, the average retiree dreams of taking on five of the activities listed, genuinely believing they’ll tick off at least four.

Stacey Stothard, spokeswoman for Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research, said:

“The general consensus for people who haven’t yet retired is that when they give up work, they can really start to live their life.

“Many Brits view their later years as a chance to do all the things they’ve wanted to do for ages, it is considered to be one big long holiday.

“But we anticipate there being a lot of people who just assume they will be able to do everything they want in retirement, without giving any real thought to how they will achieve this.”

Route 66 in America, The Great Wall of China, the Maldives and Las Vegas are among the long-haul destinations people would like to visit after the age of 65.

But more locally, folk would like to take a trip to Stonehenge, take an afternoon tea at the Ritz, or go hiking in the Lake District, as well as travel around Europe in a campervan.

The grandchildren are also likely to benefit, with a trip to Disneyland and meeting Father Christmas on the horizon.

Encouragingly, just one in five are worried that they won’t be fit enough to tick the items off their bucket list when they retire.

In fact, 43% of people imagine their retirement years will be some of the most exciting of their life, while two thirds want to use the time to fulfil all their dreams and ambitions.

Just under half of those already foresee being financially comfortable once they’ve given up work, and 43% think they’ll have enough money to do everything they want to do.

Stacey added:

“While people in their 40s and 50s may have hopes and ambitions for their retirement, it remains imperative that they keep a continuous check on how their financial plans are progressing.

“It’s surprising how many people think that they will be able to do what they want, when they want, without even giving a thought as to how they will pay for it. For many people who are relying on their state pension to fund their dreams and ambitions, the plain fact is – it won’t.

“Our survey shows that people have very strong ideas about what they want to do in retirement – and that should be encouraged. Some have more modest ambitions while others are really reaching for the stars. However, everyone should bear in mind that clarity on plans for savings and investments goes hand in hand with their plans for retirement.”


1. Sight-seeing
2. Cruises
3. See the Northern Lights
4. Live abroad/get a second home abroad
5. Train trips
6. Travel Europe in a camper van
7. Re-visit original honeymoon destinations
8. Do Route 66 in America
9. Go on safari
10. Learn a foreign language
11. Visit the Great Wall of China
12. Tea at the Ritz
13. Gamble in Las Vegas
14. Getting spa treatments
15. Take the grandchildren to Disneyland
16. Bus tours
17. Swimming with dolphins
18. Visit relatives abroad
19. Lake District hiking
20. Trip to Stonehenge
21. National Trust membership
22. Meet Father Christmas/take the children to meet Father Christmas
23. Hot air balloon ride
24. Scuba diving in the Maldives
25. Ride an elephant