The 76 year old has been absent from filming the Channel 4 quiz show in recent weeks due to lockdown, and admitted it had given him the opportunity to re-evaluate his life.
Nick, who has hosted Countdown since 2012, announced on Twitter that he intends to leave his role at the end of his current contract.
He wrote: “Delighted to be back in the Countdown studio after another enforced lockdown, BUT this latest lockdown has given me an opportunity to consider my future life and I’ve decided it’s a good time to step down at the end of my contract in the New Year.
“As someone in his 77th year, who will be in his 10th year hosting the great British institution that is Countdown, I think it’s time to smell the flowers and get a dog.
“But let me now take the opportunity to say that it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to take the helm of Countdown, first broadcast broadcast back in 1982 and still a Guinness recordholder and although I’ll be on your screens well into 2021, let me thank the broadcasters Channel 4, the truly dedicated and unwaveringly professional studio crew and production staff at ITV Studios who make the programmes, all 250 or so a year, my wonderfully talented co-hosts Susie Dent and Rachel Riley, but above all, the quirky genius of producer Damian Eadie, who never ceases to amuse and who always demands the best of us. (sic)”
Nick also thanked Countdown viewers for their support and sent his best wishes to whoever will replace him on the show.
Former Radio 1 DJ Colin Murray has been standing in for Nick during his time away from the studio.
However, Channel 4 is yet to announce who will replace Nick full time.
Countdown airs weekdays at 2.15pm on Channel 4.