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The secret benefits of retiring

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Being retired has its upsides – and we don’t just mean not having to work! From special rates, cash discounts and extra benefits on everything from entertainment and education to travel and eating out, there’s a whole host of perks available for anyone over 60.
 
However, not every organisation boasts about them, meaning many remain a secret. This article explains how to enjoy the benefits that retired people can access, revealing how much you can save – and how to apply.
 
We cover:
 
  • Details of travel benefits such as bus and train discounts, plus free parking
  • How to get a cheaper social life with money off at cinemas, restaurants and stately homes
  • Shopping savvy with savings at B&Q
  • Accessing local benefits such as free sports and leisure facilities.
 
From cinema savings and DIY store discounts to bargain bus fares and cut-price entry tickets, there’s a whole host of benefits available to the over sixties.

Cinemas

Odeon cinemas offers £2 off tickets for the Over 60s; while at Vue Cinema Seniors Cinema Club screenings you get a free cup of tea and a biscuit (let’s hope it’s something decent, like a chocolate HobNob!). Empire cinemas also offers Senior Citizens Tickets for anyone over 60 – ask for prices when you book.
 

Eating out

Many restaurants offer discounts to over 60s, particularly at lunchtimes and on weekdays, so it’s always worth asking when you book. Alternatively, over 50s can sign up for a free Diamond Club card which entitles you to meal deals - usually around 25% off your bill – at over 100 pubs and eateries nationwide.

Being retired has its upsides

Sightseeing

Stately homes and properties almost always offer a senior rate if you ask at the ticket office; but if you go regularly, ask about a discounted membership.
 
If you’re over 60, English Heritage charge just £39 each or £60 per couple for a year’s membership (as opposed to £49 or £86); while if you’ve already held membership of the National Trust for at least five of the last ten years, you’ll pay either £42 for single or £69 for joint membership once you hit 60 (as opposed to £58 or £95.50 for the under 60s).
 

DIY

Get your house in order with B&Q’s Diamond Card, which offers 10% discount every Wednesday at every B&Q store nationwide. Sign up here.
 

Glasses and eye tests

Once you hit 60, you’re automatically entitled to a free eye test on the NHS. If you need glasses, Specsavers will give you 25% off any glasses in their £69 range or above. Alternatively, sign up for a Boots Advantage Card to receive 25% off complete glasses at Boots Opticians, as well as 15% off hearing aids and invitations to exclusive events.
 

Local amenities

Most local councils offer a huge range of concessions for people of retirement age and above, ranging from cheap entry to sports and leisure centres and discounted or even free swimming sessions, to subsidised adult education classes and even free parking in council-run public car parks. Contact your local council or Citizen’s Advice Bureau for more details.
 

Travel

By bus

Once you’re over the state retirement age, you’re entitled to free off-peak travel on local buses anywhere in England. Live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? You may be eligible for free travel from age 60.

 

By coach

If you need to travel further afield, you can buy a senior coachcard from National Express which saves you a third off all standard fares, including at peak times, weekends and bank holidays. It costs £10 per year and is available to anyone over 60.
 

By train

If you plan to travel more now you’re retired, it’s well worth signing up for a Senior Railcard. Not only does it save you a third off standard and first class rail fares throughout Great Britain, but it’ll also give you all kinds of partner offers and discounts on hotels, restaurants and days out. Cards cost £30 for one year or £70 for three years. Apply online, call 0345 3000 250 or buy one at your local station ticket office.
 
Check out local train line offers too. For example, Arriva Trains’ 55 Club offers discounts on off-peak travel for the over-55s.
 

In London

Londoners of state retirement age and above can apply for a Freedom Pass, which entitles you to free travel on buses, tubes, trams and trains throughout the capital.
 
This is a little taster of what’s offers were available at the time of writing, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list - there’s fun to be had a reduced rate though - that’s for sure! What else have you discovered when out and about on your travels? Share your tips below.
 
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.

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