After a lifetime of early starts and long hours, retirement is the perfect opportunity to start living a life of leisure. However, more often than not, after the initial jubilations and feelings of triumph over escaping the dreaded 9 to 5, life after retirement can start to feel a little dull, and keeping busy becomes a struggle. At Insider London, we think the free time is an excellent opportunity to pick up new skills and discover new places and things.

If you want to use your retirement to learn new things and exercise your mind, we suggest taking a trip to the capital. To be tired of London is to be tired of life, and we have put together some tips for exploring London and starting this new life chapter off with a bang.

London riverside

London architecture

Though London’s iconic buildings appear to stand immutable through time – Westminster abbey doesn’t seem to be going anywhere – its skyline is constantly changing, with new buildings and skyscrapers sprouting like futuristic mushrooms all over the city. One of London’s best features is that it constantly reinvents itself to keep up with the times; from brilliant Brutalist buildings such as the National Theatre to Gothic gems sprinkled about, the city is full of hidden architectural treasures, and walking through London can feel like taking a trip through time. As the fastest growing Western city, it can be hard to keep up! Although you can certainly explore on your own, we’ve created a Modern Architecture walking tour that will jet you into the future and take you behind the scenes of some of London's most iconic modern development.

Culture Calls

Though we may not have believed it in school, it’s true that education doesn’t end with a degree. Retirement is the perfect time to advance the pursuit of lifelong learning, and what better place is there to do it than London, a world museum capital? A visit to London is the perfect opportunity to discover the world of contemporary art at Tate Modern or revisit old masters at the National Gallery. However, if your passions run slightly more niche, don’t be discouraged! London has museums big and small, and whether you’re curious about ]historical medical advances (http://www.aagbi.org/education/heritage-centre), magic or the history of London’s canals, the chance to dig deeper is right at your fingertips.

Historical London

If retirement has you feeling energised and more active than ever, you might like to take your exploring out of intimidating gallery walls and try a more hands-on approach. London is bursting with life and culture, and one of life’s pleasures is discovering it on foot. Make London your playground and see some of its most exciting heritage sites – We suggest heading to Greenwich, where you can explore the Cutty Sark, visit the Royal Observatory and see the masterpiece that is the Old Royal Naval College, as well as take in some stunning views from London’s oldest Royal park. If the weather proves to be too unreliable, we also offer an exciting London Underground and Tube Tour, which takes you on a weatherproof journey across 150 years of history. From eerie ghost stations to the tube’s secret colour coding, you’re guaranteed to go home with a wealth of new knowledge.

A study in shopping

A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some of its most iconic shops – from the classic façade of Liberty’s with its lavish flower displays, to the quintessentially British Fortnum & Mason food hall (we highly recommend afternoon tea in The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon), London shopping is a superb aesthetic experience. However, if you feel you’ve already hit all your old haunts and would like to dig a little deeper, you’re sure to enjoy our Retail Design Tour, where you’ll get to see some of the trendiest shops in London and learn all about great retail design and merchandising. Once the tour is over, you can always go back for a browse of the shops...!