The Brits who left home for the ‘Good Life’ in Poland
Marianne Goodman can’t contain her excitement at she and her husband’s new move.
Having sold their ‘cul-de-sac house’ near Hartlepool, the bubbly 58-year-old and 61-year-old partner Glenn are now preparing to move into a two-acre property in northeast Poland.
She is one of thousands of retirees leaving the UK to start a new life in the country.
Selfie satifised: Marianne Goodman and her partner Glenn in Poland
Polish property: The home of Marianne and her partner Glenn set in two-acres of land
The 13th century Malbork castle next door to Marianne and Glenn’s new home
Situated in a village not far from a 13th century Teutonic Knights castle, former bank employee Marianne said: ‘We found a lovely detached property for £130,000 with a pond, stables and an orchard.
‘We’re taking our two dogs, cats and a ferret with us, and I would like some goats and chickens, too.
‘I’ve always wanted to live in the countryside and grow my own vegetables.
‘So, this will be a bit like The Good Life, I guess,’ she said referencing the 1970’s British sitcom starring Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal.
On the other side of the country, sitting in his detached house with a sprawling view of lakes and forests, former NHS worker John says he ‘could not be happier’.
Describing his home in a village in northwest Poland as his ‘happy place’, the 73-year-old retiree said the only thing he misses about England is Cornish pasties.
He told MailOnline: ’I’ve lived in Spain and in London, and Poland is better than both.
‘To put it simply, my life is wonderful.’
Well integrated into the small local community, John and his Polish partner spend their days supping wine in a cosy local restaurant and chatting with friends and neighbours.
John (on the left next to his Polish partner) having an open fire BBQ in their garden with friends
John enjoys supping wine in a cosy local restaurant and chatting with friends and neighbours’
John’s ‘‘happy place’: The former NHS worker’s house in north-west Poland
Fomer NHS worker John took a snap of his dog ‘Sophie’ in his snow-coated garden in Poland
One of John’s favourite restaurants offering fresh trout for around £4 to £10
Meanwhile, 100 miles south, Johnny Craiggs is enjoying a pint of Guinness in his local Irish pub.
Situated inside the city of Poznan’s 20th century Imperial Castle, the Dubliner attracts a lively crowd, including the 66-year-old former bus and coach driver from Newcastle.
Autumnal path to John’s house: The only thing he misses about Britain is the Cornish pasties
Polish room with a view: This stunning lake scene is what John sees from his window
Still an England fan: John at his home in Poland cheering on the Three Lions in the World Cup
He said: ‘For Poland it can be a bit dear in here, 22 zloty (about £4.20) for a Guinness. But it can be anything between £4.80 to £5.60 in the toon.’
Meeting his Polish wife Grazyna 20 years ago, Johnny first moved to Poznan in 2014 to set up a cafe called English Johnny’s.
Flitting back and forth between the UK to continue his coach driving while Grazyna stayed to run the cafe, Johnny eventually settled in Poland in 2019.
He said: ‘Of course, we’re much better off here than in the UK, but I still pop back to do a bit of driving on the side and stock up on sausages and bacon so I can have a proper full English.’
New research has shown the fastest growing destinations for pensioners leaving the UK
The pensioners are just a small fraction of a growing number of Brits retiring to Poland.
A recent report from Investing Reviews showed that ‘2,213 people claiming a UK pension have set down their roots in Poland since Britain officially left the EU on 31 Jan 2020.’
Ross Naylor, owner of Financial Advice Poland, said: ‘One of the benefits for Brits retiring in Poland is that it is one of the countries where UK State Pension continues to rise with inflation.
‘Another is the fact that the tax treaty between the two countries clearly covers the treatment of pension income.’
Johnny holding a bottle of his own brew named 303 in memory of the Polish RAF Squadron that had most ‘kills’ during Battle of Britain
Johnny outside his cafe called English Johnny’s, which he runs with Polish wife Grazyna
Another attraction, says former NHS worker John, is the cost of living.
Buying his three-bedroomed house with a terrace on a 5,000 sqm plot of land for £52,000 he said: ‘I used to live in a small flat in London. Now I have all this, which I’d never be able to afford in the UK.
‘Going out to eat in the UK is expensive, too. But we can go to our local restaurant here and get a great meal for as little as 60 zloty (around £11) or up to a couple of hundred (around £40) depending on what we have.
‘Polish food is delicious with some amazing meats and cheeses. ‘You can also get some fantastic wine here, with a decent bottle costing around 40 zloty (£7).’
First visiting Poland in 2004 on a holiday to Krakow where he met his now partner, a 53-year-old former HGV driver, John moved to Poland full-time in 2015.
He said: ‘I was living in a small flat in London, working in telecoms for 18 years before being forced to take voluntary retirement.
‘I then started working at Great Ormond Street hospital and also at an HIV hospice.
‘My partner is Polish and we initially bought this place as a holiday home, but when I got to 65 we decided to come here permanently.
The 20th century Imperial palace built in 1905 by Willhelm II where ‘English Johnny’ has his local Irish pub.
The Dubliner pub attracts a lively crowd, including the 66-year-old former bus and coach driver Johnny from Newcastle
‘It was the obvious destination and we’ve never looked back.’
Bus-driving Johnny agrees. He said: ‘I’m proud to be British but of course it’s much better living here than in the UK.
‘My pension goes much further here and we have three properties with no mortgage.
‘Obviously it is cheaper here, although it is getting dearer. But the UK pension goes a lot further than the Polish pension which, I think is 40 percent behind.
‘We’re not rich but we’re comfortable.’
He also has a crowd of expat mates and Polish friends who he met while running English Johnny’s.
He said: ‘I’ve got my friends, my health, my wife, and Poznan is beautiful.
‘There aren’t many things I miss in the UK, to be honest, apart from proper fish ’n chips and a fry up.’
For Marianne and Glenn, it’s not what they’ll miss that’s on their minds, it’s the adventure that lies ahead.
With Marianne working for 35 years in banking, and Glenn spending most of his working life in construction, they have both taken early retirement to ‘live the dream’.
Preparing to move the picturesque region of Pomerania between the historic towns of Gdansk and Elblag, Marianne said: ‘We want to live a life we can afford in a quiet village.
‘Glenn is bringing his motorbike so he can explore and I want to get involved in the community and local activities.
‘Ive been coming here since I was seven-years-old and the more I see of the country the more I love it.
‘It’s certainly more affordable on a pension than the UK. And there are proper seasons, too.
‘My grandfather was Polish so we have family here and I’d like to connect with my heritage.’ She added: ‘We found a bar that brews its own beer, which is good, but I think my husband will still miss British bacon and sausages.’