The top 8 retirement gifts

Most of us relish the thought of retirement – just being able to wake up whenever we want and choose to do whatever we wish, every day. This is the time to take up new hobbies or pursue pastimes that there’s never been enough time for before. If you’re celebrating the retirement of a friend or family member – or giving your own friends and family hints of things to buy to mark your own retirement – we hope that the following list of our favourite retirement gifts will provide you with some inspiration.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Not only have we identified our top retirement gift for men or women (although both are equally relevant for whoever you may be shopping for), there are also ideas for unique retirement gifts and funny retirement gifts too – depending on your relationship with the person retiring and your budget. And, if you’re looking to bake a retirement cake, take a look at our retirement cake recipe.

1.    The Top Retirement Gift For Her: A Spa Voucher

A photo of some spa oils, towels and a candle.

If you’re retiring and have more leisure time on your hands, what better way to spend it than having a spa day or even a short spa break – or a reflexology treatment or a sports massage. If you’re buying a spa voucher as a gift, you’ll need to book somewhere near the person’s home. A couple of years ago, ‘You’ magazine listed their nine best spas across the UK.

  • Best Country Retreat Spa – Champneys, Forest Mere, Hampshire
  • Best Day Spa – The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village, Lancashire
  • Best Boutique Spa – Stanley House Hotel & Spa, Lancashire
  • Best Destination Spa – Aqua Sana, Sherwood Forest, Derbyshire
  • Best Spa for Customer Service – Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall, Co Durham
  • Best Wellness Spa – Rockliffe Hall, Co Durham
  • Best Urban Spa – The Spa at The Midland, Manchester
  • Best Health Club Spa – The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Cheshire
  • Best New Spa, the Spa at South Lodge, West Sussex

For spas in different counties, look at the SpaSeekers website. In Oxfordshire, for example, you’ll find The Cotswold Hotel & Spa in Chipping Norton and The Oxford Belfry Hotel and Spa. In Hampshire, as well as Champneys at Forest Mere, there’s the Old Thorns Hotel & Retreat in Liphook. Lythe Hill Hotel and Spa near Haslemere and Grayshott Spa. Surrey is home to Guildford Harbour Hotel & Spa and Brooklands Hotel & Spa near Weybridge.

2.    Top Retirement Gift For Him: BBQ or Cookery Accessories

There are a range of inexpensive retirement gifts, great for anyone who enjoys cooking either indoors or outdoors on the BBQ. Why not buy an apron bearing the words ‘RETIRED,’ the year and the legend ‘NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE’ available from Amazon.  If you have a larger budget, you could add a smart, new BBQ set or some elegant cookery utensils to the gift. Or perhaps, for enthusiastic amateur cooks, purchase a cookery course – day or evening and they may treat you to whatever they’ve learned to cook afterwards. You can do this through Virgin Experiences.

3.    Equipment to enhance their golfing experience

The Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors set comes with 14 sensors to be attached to each club. When you download the app, you’ll receive automatic shot tracking, smart distance club averages, powered rangefinders – a GPS rangefinder that adjusts in real-time for wind, slope, temperature, humidity and altitude, caddie advice personalised to optimise your game and insights to highlight your strengths and weaknesses and guide your practise and equipment choice.

4.    A picnic basket

If you know someone who enjoys the great outdoors, why not buy them a beautiful picnic basket? They’ll have more time to enjoy the countryside in their retirement so this could be an ideal gift. At The Basket Company you’ll find a selection of the very best picnic baskets – willow or wicker, some packed full of crockery, glassware and cutlery and with something to suit almost every budget. For anyone who enjoys a tipple, there are also bottle carriers, and if your friend or family member prefers staying closer to home, there’s an entire range of hampers.

5.    Travel Books/Guides

For people who enjoy ‘locking up and leaving,’ retirement is the perfect opportunity to travel, but sometimes it’s knowing the best places to stay. A book – or a collection of books by Alastair Sawday makes a wonderful gift. These are amongst the best travel guides we have come across. ‘Go Slow England & Wales’ celebrates life in the slow lane with a hand-picked selection of special places to stay, advice on cultural, historic, gastronomic, and unusual places to visit, and a small collection of regional recipes. The owners listed are passionate about seasonality and home-grown produce, and care about their effect on the environment.  Sawday also does a guide to ‘Britain’s Best Dog-Friendly Places To Stay’ and ‘Great British Bed & Breakfasts’ as well as a whole selection of continental guides.  Books can be found in most major bookshops and online.

6.    Membership to the National Trust or English Heritage

National Trust membership gives free entry to over 500 sites, free parking at most of the car parks, a handbook full of information and a magazine delivered three times a year with inspiration, interviews, and news as well as access to an online Members’ Area full of previews and features. In 2022, membership of English Heritage starts from as little as £53 a year and gives unlimited access to hundreds of sites, reduced price entry to events, a members’ magazine, and members awards.

7.    Book subscriptions

Anyone who enjoys reading will appreciate a book subscription. Handpicked books are delivered weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on the subscription you have chosen and whatever the preference of your friend or family member, there’s a book subscription to suit. The website All Subscription Boxes gives you a good guide to the various different subscriptions on offer – as well as a range of book related gifts.  One of the sites – Bookishly – specialises in beautiful vintage paperbacks and classic books with different genres on offer and many come with tea or coffee, and some with beautiful stationery and bookmarks. The book boxes in this collection are all set bundles of months, which are ideal for gift giving. You'll get a welcome pack sent out straight away which you can give to the recipient.

8.    Help them join the coffee club

There are so many wonderful coffees on the market at the moment – and so many ways to enjoy them.  You might not be able to afford to pay for your friend or relative to go to Italy but give them a taste of Italy with a coffee machine that does everything from cappuccinos and lattes to espressos?   Or perhaps pay for a subscription to a coffee club?  BBC Good Food has listed its favourite coffee subscriptions on the website which deliver coffee to the door, with weekly, monthly or fortnightly options – some with smaller packs as part of a tasting set which are ideal for single people.

Unique Retirement Gifts

A Personalised Retirement Memory Book

The website has a range of unique gifts that are perfect for retirees. One of these is a Personalised Retirement Memory Book with a cover recording the person’s name and the date of the retirement. This may be used in a number of ways – as a guest book, keepsake, scrapbook or as a photo album but one idea is to get everyone at work to sign the book and note down a special memory and to add photos or cuttings.


A personalised wine or whisky decanter

Of course, with a bottle of something special to go in it, is a great present for someone retiring – there are plenty of suppliers including Etsy and Forever Crystal.


A "Things to do when you retire" box

Also, on there’s a box of things to do in retirement. You can personalise the box with the friend or family member’s name. Inside there are 25 cards in sealed envelopes suggesting various activities such as going to see a live band or visiting a friend you haven’t seen for a long time - plus five blank cards in unsealed envelopes for you to add your own ideas.

Funny Retirement Gifts

Retirement t-shirts

Fun, casual t-shirts declaring freedom from the daily grind are the perfect funny retirement gifts. You can choose long or short sleeved t-shirts from a variety of suppliers with slogans including the definition of retirement, ‘the retirement squad’ ‘Now work for the wife/husband’ or ‘Under new management. Take a look at for a whole host of ideas and suppliers.


A humorous book or journal

On Amazon you’ll find a variety of books including ‘The Legend Has Retired’ journal which can be used for jotting down great ideas, recording accomplishments or for use as a travel journal. Or there are books like ‘You’re Only Old Once,’ a book for ‘obsolete children’ by Dr Seuss.


A personalised wall plaque

You’ll find blue retirement plaques that can be personalised with different personality traits or hobbies or things they’re known for at work on For example... Susan Smith. PA to the Managing Director. Early Bird At Work. Party person. Baker of Delicious Cakes. The plaques are completely weatherproof so can be used indoors and outdoors.


A personalised spoof news article/film poster

This is a lovely gift and looks great when framed. You’re able to add the person’s name, date, hometown, workplace and age and it’s a fun retirement gift. If you don’t want to make so much of the retirement angle, choose a film poster and add photos of the retiree and names of their co-workers or their friends and relatives on the ‘credits’  - take a look at

The top 8 retirement gifts: 

  1. A spa voucher
  2. BBQ or cookery accessories
  3. The Arccos Caddie Smart Sensor for golfers
  4. A picnic basket
  5. Travel books/ guides
  6. National Trust or English Heritage Membership
  7. Book Subscriptions
  8. A coffee club membership

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