It's easy to think of Wales as being a different country – and yes, there's a clear border between it and England – but it's also part of the UK, which is a single country in its own right.
That makes it a great choice if you're looking for a retirement option that offers you something new, while still sharing a land border with your homeland.
But it's not just Wales's proximity that makes it a tempting proposition for retirees – and plenty of people choose to retire there not because it's new to them, but because they have spent many happy years holidaying there already.
Here are just some of the best reasons we can think of to spend your twilight years in Wales.
1. Getting There
Getting to Wales is so easy, thanks to its land border with England and good transport links, that many people who don't actually live there can still enjoy some time in its towns and valleys.
Residential homes specialist Forest Healthcare has facilities throughout Berkshire and Oxfordshire, just a stone's throw from the M4 corridor that links south-east England across and into Wales.
Gracewell Healthcare is another nursing homes provider in the south of England with venues close to the Welsh border – notably Rossetti House, its new home in Frome, south of Bristol and within an hour of Wales.
2. Living There
Of course, many people choose to live not just close to the border, but in Wales itself, and there are good reasons to do so.
Not least among these is the substantial increase in life expectancy in Wales over the past couple of decades – since 1991-93, women born in Wales can expect to live three years longer, and men an impressive 4.4 years.
In fact, the average life expectancy of both men and women has been rising each time it has been calculated since 1995-97.
3. Where to Live
Again looking at life expectancy, Ceredigion – home to Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay – is the local authority with the best life expectancy in the whole of Wales.
North Wales is largely rural, with coastal towns including Rhyl and Llandudno, and transport links into northern England and its major cities, including Liverpool and Manchester.
By contrast, southern Wales is home to the major cities, including both Cardiff and Swansea, and is of course the part of the country reached by travelling west along the M4.
4. Where to Go
Wherever you live in Wales, there's likely to be a place of natural beauty close by.
Wales is home to three national parks – Snowdonia, which is ideal for those maintaining an interest in mountain-climbing in their later years, the Brecon Beacons, another area of dramatic highlands, and Pembrokeshire Coast, a farming area with plenty of great wildlife both on land and in the sea.
Even outside of these protected areas, however, Wales is famed for its valleys and beautiful geography, making it a perfect retirement spot for nature-lovers of all kinds.
5. Staying Healthy
Retirement is not just about life expectancy; it is also about quality of life, and in Wales several health programmes are focusing on this issue.
The Healthy Ageing Action Plan helps the over-50s to improve their general health, while the Strategy for Older People in Wales 2008 – 2013 set out a five-year plan focusing on the socioeconomic and environmental factors that can have an impact on health.
6. Learning in Later Life
Finally, while you might not naturally think about it, there's nothing to stop you learning a new subject or skill late in life – and the Welsh Government are supportive of older people who choose to do so.
With funding available to cover transport and tuition costs, and apprenticeships open to individuals of all ages, it's never too late to finally take that course you've been putting off since your youth.