Jonnie Irwin heads to North Yorkshire to be reunited with his former house hunters who wanted to escape London to raise their young children in the country.
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Making the move from city to countryside
is often a momentous step.
Never in a million years I would imagine
I would be seeing a house like this. Never, ever.
But for many years,
Escape To The Country has been supporting countless people
on the hunt for a new home in a more rural location.
-What do we think of this?
-Oh, my! Chocolate box.
We've travelled to the most picturesque pockets of Britain...
-Take a look at that killer view.
..to showcase thousands of exquisite country properties...
Oh! But how pretty is that?
-..that our buyers just couldn't resist.
Seriously, get your cheque-book out now.
Join us as we catch up with those who bought their dream home...
I'm actually blown away.
..to find out how the move changed their lives
when they escaped to the country.
Today we're in North Yorkshire, a vast, rural county
home to two of most treasured national parks -
the Dales and the Moors,
whose striking landscape is carved up
by these beautiful, ancient dry-stone walls.
Now, they survive as the oldest man-made relics
of Britain's farming heritage,
used to keep livestock penned in for centuries.
And there are over 5,000 miles of these walls in the Dales alone.
So, why am I here in this part of the world?
Well, I'll be catching up with
some former Escape To The Country house-hunters
who fled the capital and now call this wonderful region their home.
Today I'll be retracing my steps
within the sought-after area known as the Golden Triangle,
between Harrogate, York and Leeds.
And it's the turn of Kris and Kat from London
who have made the 200-mile journey north to Yorkshire
and ended up buying one of the properties that we viewed together.
Along with their two young sons,
they are now settling into their beautiful new home.
Blanketed by vast swathes of heather moorland and woodland,
with the rugged North Sea coast to the east,
north Yorkshire has been inspiring creatives for generations.
Most notably the Bronte sisters,
for whom the wild grandeur of the Moors
was the atmospheric backdrop to the classic novel Wuthering Heights.
As for me, this is one of my favourite parts of the country.
And, judging by the steady stream of buyers we help to escape here,
well, I'm in pretty good company.
And one such couple who were chomping at the bit
to call this place home were Kris and Kat,
looking for that classic country pile in which to raise their kids.
Back in the spring of 2016,
the couple, with their sons Sam and Oliver,
were living in London's North Finchley in a five-bedroom terrace.
We've been in Finchley for eight years together,
and we've been in London for close to 19 years.
We are getting to the stage now
where we want to move out into the country
just to have that next stage for the boys to enjoy the outdoors,
and London doesn't really give us that.
Their decision to move away from the city
was driven by Kris and Kat's country roots
and their desire for more family time.
We've chosen to move to Yorkshire because it's closer to my family.
We wanted to move out of London and try and find a much bigger place
to enjoy the countryside,
and we figured, actually, moving north
would be the obvious choice for financial reasons
and close to the bigger cities where we can both work.
I grew up in a really rural village.
Well, it wasn't even a village, it was more of a hamlet.
So that way of life really appeals to me,
and North Yorkshire is just stunning.
They also saw the move as a springboard
to spending lots of time in the great outdoors together.
We're a pretty active family, and at the weekends,
as well as getting out on our bike and going for walks,
we also enjoy playing tennis, the boys like playing football.
When I grew up in the countryside, I loved horse riding,
and so that's something I'd really, dearly like to pick up again
when moving to North Yorkshire, is to get back into riding.
The couple were after a detached character house
with a large kitchen-diner and four bedrooms.
With Kat keen to take up horse riding again,
she wanted some land with outbuildings.
Their £850,000 budget was generous,
but they wanted a village location
in an area where properties do attract a premium.
Our first offering was in the village of Walton,
just over the border in West Yorkshire.
It was three miles from the market town of Wetherby,
with its attractive honey-coloured stone buildings.
I showed them a property that was architecturally in keeping -
a 19th-century farmhouse which had been refurbished a few years before.
Come right in, because...
-I'm hoping you'll get...
..a really nice view of this substantial pile of stone.
Yeah, it's fantastic. Lovely garden as well.
Stunning from the outside. Lovely.
-You've got a local pub.
-You've got a local cricket club.
-Good for the boys.
Now, you've got an Ofsted-rated "good" school within about a mile.
But you've got Wetherby just a couple of miles up the road.
-Let's go inside.
Oh, it's lovely. Really light, lovely big windows.
Nice high ceilings.
Sometimes in houses that have got lots of character,
you get the smaller windows and it seems a bit dark inside,
but you can't say the same for this property, it's lovely.
-Back home, are you kitchen dwellers?
-It's probably the kitchen, yeah.
Somewhere where we can all meet.
-Let's keep looking around.
The heart of the home, as in most people's houses, is the kitchen.
Oh, lovely. Nice big kitchen and, you know, sociable as well,
so when you're cooking and preparing the food,
you can chat to people, glass of wine.
Yeah, Looks good.
Now, for when you do your Hyacinth Bucket bits,
you've got a formal dining room at the top end of the house and a snug,
but it would be a decent-size living room in most other people's houses.
Just behind me here, you've got a utility room.
Really good size, which means you get all the white goods
that you don't normally use out of the kitchen.
That would be a real benefit.
-Upstairs next. Let me squeeze through.
Thank you very much.
The hallway staircase led up to the first floor
where we found four bright and airy bedrooms.
Two of the spare bedrooms made use of the stylish family bathroom
with walk-in shower,
while the third benefited from its own en suite.
And the extensive master clearly impressed them.
-Yeah. Really nice.
Lovely features, as well, with the fireplace. Really pretty.
You've got a walk-through wardrobe with an en suite,
-if you want to take a quick peek.
-I don't know if you have that sort of facility back home.
Oh, look, his and hers sinks.
And plenty of cupboard space for all my clothes, so...
-HE CLEARS THROAT
-Uh, no comment.
-The other with an en suite,
which, you know, you want your guests to be comfortable,
not having to use the family bathroom.
So you've got three bathrooms in total on this floor.
-It's big, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's big, yeah.
Well, you both sound very positive to this,
but I want to show you something that you'll get in this house that,
well, you just can't get in London.
-OK. Now I'm intrigued.
Back out on the landing, and up a second flight of stairs
was a huge space packed with potential tucked away in the eaves.
Now, of course, you probably could get this in London...
if you were a Premiership footballer.
-Wow. My word.
-This is amazing.
-This is clearly my space.
-Genuinely blown away.
It's a lad space, isn't it? Come on?
OK, lad space. Yeah, it's fantastic.
And, actually, our eldest plays the guitar,
and the youngest would definitely want to play the drums
because he's that sort of personality.
The internal space had gone down well,
and the extent of the plot outside was impressive.
That included a garden laid to lawn,
and an adjoining paddock which had five years left on the lease.
It's quite a private area here for your barbecues,
but...something a bit different here.
It's a really nice surprise. Unexpected.
Now then, the difficult thing is pricing it.
I shall go in with around £800,000.
I was thinking just below, but not far off.
-This house is on the market at £850,000.
-And that has come down just shy of...well, just under £900,000.
So they've given it a substantial price reduction.
But you've got a lot of property here.
Right on budget, this first property had met their brief.
I think this house is lovely.
It's got a lot of potential,
there's certainly a few surprises in there.
The attic, certainly, we didn't see that one coming.
And this paddock certainly gives us something to think about.
-So, your first viewing.
Is the dream getting closer?
-It's a great start.
Well, hopefully something to compare the other two with.
Come with me.
Well, I was confident that the first house
had given Kris and Kat everything they'd asked for.
But, on reflection, I thought they hadn't really been touched by it,
it hadn't affected them emotionally.
So next up, I wanted to take them to a house
that had such instant visual appeal
it was bound to pack an emotional punch.
With that in mind, we went to the village of Branton Green,
where the second offering was
a stunning Grade II-listed period property.
In a lot of ways, what you've asked for
is a stereotypical Escape To The Country home.
-So we found you one.
Wisteria round the front door. She's gorgeous, isn't it?
I love the wisteria.
-It looks pretty big as well.
I'm interested to know how many bedrooms it has got.
-I'm almost running out of fingers. Let me show you.
-Really? Oh, wow.
Laid out over three floors, there was no shortage of space,
with three reception rooms on the ground floor.
Now, there is a few living rooms to draw upon.
-This is really cosy!
-This is my favourite.
-I love that fireplace.
Well, these are normally on the ticklists of people that are
-moving out of the big city, aren't they?
I think anybody that moves here will probably have to
put their own touch on this place,
you know, try and maybe think about lighting the rooms
in a, perhaps, more modern way.
You can imagine a nice warm winter's evening in here with this fire on.
-It's lovely. Really nice and cosy.
-Let's go to the kitchen.
-OK, I'll follow you.
-You've got a downstairs loo just through there.
The kitchen is the modern part of the property.
-Oh, wow, yeah.
-Yeah, totally different.
Yeah, isn't it? But it works.
No, it completely works, and it's really homely as well.
I wasn't expecting it.
And a great, you know, space to have off the kitchen,
cosy for the family.
Really bright. Windows literally the full length of the property.
Yeah, really light.
I'm looking forward to seeing outside as well.
I bet you are!
Before we do that, though,
let's go and take a look at the bedrooms this house gives you.
Upstairs, there were six good-sized bedrooms spread over two levels,
so their boys could take their pick.
I showed Kris and Kat the largest of the six on the first floor.
-I think we're all right head height.
-Yeah, definitely. We're fine.
-But bags of character.
-Oh, wow. Yeah!
Oh, this is fantastic. A lovely room AND an en suite.
Really big windows as well, so plenty of light.
I know you were very positive walking around the first house,
but you look more comfortable in this one.
I feel very positive about it.
-This has the character that we're after.
It reminds me, some of the features remind me
of growing up in the family homes, definitely.
With the house evoking warm feelings of nostalgia in Kat,
we went outside to survey the land,
which included a lawn with shepherd's hut -
great for the boys to play in -
and numerous outbuildings,
including a separate stone barn which had project potential.
You will be pleased to hear that this building
-is contained within the property, OK?
-It actually predates the house we've been looking at.
Yes, you can tell. This is amazing.
So you've got plenty of space for residential accommodation.
It's got electricity supplied to it.
CHICKENS CLUCK It's got chickens inside it -
you can hear at the moment.
-But it's also got water as well.
It's primed and ready.
This is an amazing project,
-but it's something you never have to do if you don't want to.
There is a wonderful workshop in there, there's a tack store,
because you'll want the tack for the horses you keep
in your one-acre paddock.
-Oh, my word!
For a first-time equestrian property, if you like,
I mean, this is it.
I'm absolutely blown away.
-It's ticking a lot of the wish list, isn't it?
I'm actually blown away.
-Look at you.
You see, these are the emotions and the reactions
I was hoping I would get.
Just as long as you're not allergic to chickens.
I can't speak. Yeah, no, it's absolutely lovely.
It really reminds me of lots of things.
I'm completely blown away.
-It really sweet.
-It's got everything.
-How much would you pay for it?
I think it's going to be more than 850.
Um... Go on, I'm going to go for 875.
-What do you think?
I'm going to go for over 900. 915?
My eyes are still watering.
-I'm afraid it is over budget.
-On the market at £875,000.
-I was spot on, but...
And we've spoken to the owner, and because they know your position,
they said they would entertain offers of around £850,000.
-So you could get this on budget.
-That would be unbelievable.
£25,000 over budget, but with the owner open to offers,
the second property had clearly stirred the emotions.
I think I've fallen in love with this house. Absolutely love it.
I think it was just bringing back a lot of memories, a lot of nostalgia,
things from my childhood that actually I'm looking to recreate
with my family and my children.
-You like this, don't you?
-Really like it.
Well, that's all we're going to look at today.
Hopefully something really good to think on tonight.
-Shall we go?
The highs and lows of house-hunting
can often be an emotional experience,
but when you get tears of joy halfway through a viewing,
well, you know you know you're on to a winner.
And it's clear to see that Kat and Kris had fallen for
the charms of that beautiful wisteria-clad home.
It really was an Escape To The Country classic.
However, they still had to see the Mystery House,
and, as we know, that can throw some surprising elements into the mix.
It was located in the village of Clifford, West Yorkshire.
With two strong contenders banked already,
our mystery property was a bit of a gamble in some ways.
But as they saw, it still excelled in terms of space and character.
In we come. Something a little bit different.
What is it, a church? It's a...?
Well...what would you say if I was to say
it ended life as a converted nunnery?
-Oh, yes, you can see the cross above the door.
Keep an open mind. It's something very different.
It's very pretty.
We think we've got two really good options in the bag,
so we've really mixed it up with the Mystery House. OK?
Let's start with one of the two reception rooms
on this raised ground floor.
-Yeah. It's really big. Really big.
Windows both sides as well makes it incredibly bright.
Yeah, it really light. And it's a great size.
-I mean, it's enormous, really, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
This house is slightly different in the way it's laid out
in the fact that you've got this reception room here,
you can just sneak a peek through there
to more of a snug or a music room.
-Yeah. Still pretty big.
And then downstairs, as you will see, you've got the cooking area.
-Oh, right. OK.
-Let's keep walking around.
See if you can adapt to a very different kind of house.
Come with me.
The unusual layout of the mystery offering
meant the kitchen was downstairs.
So, on the lower ground floor, we've got a really good-sized kitchen.
Yeah, really lovely kitchen.
Downstairs, but actually really light and airy.
-They've done a good job on the conservatory here.
-But big, isn't it?
-It is big.
-Really well done.
Now, you've got a room next door.
It serves at the moment as a spare bedroom,
but I thought if you were to come downstairs to do your cooking,
you'd either have that as a little TV room
or just as a formal dining room, wouldn't you?
Let's have a peek at one of the bedrooms,
just so you see the dimensions and then we'll go outside.
Come with me.
The remaining three double bedrooms were up on the first floor,
including the master.
The developer was made to keep as much of this is possible.
-It's Grade II listed, this building is.
Look at it, it's beautiful, isn't it?
Yeah, they've made a great job.
Outside, across the courtyard, was even more accommodation -
a jaw-dropping annexe within the nunnery's former chapel.
Now, I distinctly remember you saying on your shopping list
you wanted a chapel.
THEY LAUGH Right?
Oh, my word.
I was going to say, "Holy Moley," but, you know...
I don't know what to say.
-That's incredible, isn't it?
Well, I won't have to go far on Sunday morning, will I?
I bet even you'd still be late for this.
Or is it party Saturday night? And you get very irreverent.
Yeah. Probably more likely.
-But what would you use it for?
-It'd be a games room, wouldn't it?
And a party room. Absolutely. It couldn't be anything else.
It must take quite a lot to heat it, though.
-You've got underfloor heating.
-Thought of everything.
-But, yeah, it's handy, isn't it?
This unique property certainly offered Kat and Kris
lots of indoor space,
but it was time to reveal the mystery twist - the garden.
There was a lawn with raised borders,
but there wasn't that extra land they'd asked for.
Let's have a go at guessing the price.
Kris, have a go.
JONNIE LAUGHS And, you know what?
It serves you right, because she's a spot on at 750.
-Oh, wow. Well done, Kat.
-Well done me.
A substantial £100,000 below budget,
this mystery proposition really pushed the envelope
on delivering enormous living spaces and incredible decorative character.
I mean, when you walk into that chapel it's unbelievable.
The mosaic features, and the mosaics are beautiful.
All three houses had their own individual merit,
but which one did they decide to buy?
They reacted positively to property one,
which was on the money and gave them a great balance of house and land.
The house is fantastic. Lovely garden.
When you came inside, all the rooms were really good sizes.
Actually, you could move straight in,
there's nothing that you need to do to the property.
I really like it.
But let's not forget Kat's tears in house two,
which was picture perfect,
but gave them less land than the first
and did nudge over budget.
However, there was a £100,000 saving up for grabs with the mystery.
So did they compromise on outside space
in favour of a supersize interior?
When we sat down to discuss what they would do next,
it was clear they had made their minds up.
So, time to tell me your favourite property.
I'm pretty sure I know which one it is, but put me out of my misery.
-Duh-duh-duh! Number two!
-It was, though, wasn't it?
-Yeah, number two.
For both of you, though?
I know you were very emotional at the time. Kris?
Yeah, it was an outright winner. Definitely.
They were so taken with that wisteria-clad house, too,
they went back for a second viewing, bought it, and now call it home.
I've come back to find out if country life
is everything they hoped it would be.
They probably never use this door.
I was just thinking, you probably never use that front door.
No. Yeah, we had it locked, so we had to run and get the keys.
-How are you settling in?
-Can I have a snoop around?
-Lovely. Thank you very much.
-See what you remember.
-Well, you've not been here long, have you?
-No. Four weeks.
-Four weeks, is it?
-So probably not a lot of work has been going on.
That looks pretty much the same.
Not changed much because we bought their furniture.
I was going to say, do I recognise that dining table?
It fits so well, they couldn't take it, so it's still here.
As you say, it fits great.
But the first room to change in any house, especially with kids,
-is the kitchen, isn't it?
Come on, lead the way. Let's have a look.
Tried to give it that family feel.
Just a few subtle changes have helped to countrify their kitchen.
And I'm keen to find out how these former city dwellers
are adjusting to rural life.
So here we are. You did it, you made the big move.
Yeah, we've made it.
-You've cut the umbilical cord of London.
-It was painful.
Well, you had a good network of friends down there, didn't you?
Yeah. No, it was difficult.
I must admit, the first few weeks I found quite tough,
missing friends from London and feeling quite isolated.
That's not to say...
-Everyone has been really friendly here.
-Yeah, of course.
But, you know, Kris was off to work,
and I would be like, "Right, what can I get done?"
And then I'd just have, every now and then, this sort of "Oh..."
pining for London.
But, you know, it is great, and when you realise what we've now got,
it's just that sort of emotional side, that upheaval.
How have the boys taken to life up here?
The boys have taken it really well.
I mean, they had three or four months to prepare themselves for it,
and, actually, since they've been up here,
they've hardly watched any television at all.
They've been outside in the barn, they've been in the paddock.
You know, they've been playing around, exploring everywhere.
So they've really got into it.
A lot of people, when they move,
they have their bribe, to make it easier for the kids.
How have you bribed, or incentivised, your lads
for the big move up here?
-We had a little list, didn't we? Before we moved up.
There's a couple of things on there. Certainly a trampoline was on there.
-Tick. That's done.
The big thing was a puppy.
-You've got a puppy?!
-It's coming on Monday.
-Four days, yeah.
-It's all part of this country existence, isn't it?
I mean, it is a bit of a cliche, going to the countryside and...
-But cliches exist because they're sometimes so right.
They're so agreeable with everyday life, aren't they?
Yes, we joke it's for the boys and it's for me,
companion during the day and another girl in the family, so, yeah...
You're trying to balance things out a bit, are you?
Right, good luck.
Despite only moving in a few weeks ago,
they've already unpacked their boxes,
and Kris and Kat are showing me around.
The reception room with log burner
has been turned into a family-friendly living space.
And the bedrooms have already been rearranged
to welcome visiting friends.
I'm particularly eager to see
if they're making use of the detached stone barn,
one of the property's real selling points.
Have the owners left this, or have you bought another one?
Yeah. They left it behind.
You've got a dart board up, music over there.
Yeah, proper party room.
We've got some friends coming this weekend.
There is a beer festival on in the village,
and then we'll come back here and get the children to bed.
-We've got the fridge.
-You've got a fridge there as well!
It's going to be perfect.
Little bit chilly, but maybe some heaters at some point.
That was going to be one of my questions, actually,
because you've got all this space.
You said you were initially going to be missing your friends -
you've surely got a home that people want to come up and visit.
We hope so.
That's what really hoping, just have visitors
and friends locally as well.
-What's your social calendar like?
-Yeah, it's pretty busy now.
-Fully booked up till Christmas.
It may serve as a great entertaining space for now,
but the barn also has some obvious project potential.
You've got some plumbing through there as well.
-You've got a basin...
-There's a loo and a basin.
There's a place for a cooker down there cos there's a cooker point,
so it's got everything there ready to go.
I mean, don't tell the boys, but, you know,
this has got self-catering unit written all over it, hasn't it?
Yeah, definitely. That's one of the thoughts that we've got.
-We're not going to rush into it,
but clearly it is potential to do a lot of things with the space.
Yeah, it will be hard to give up but, you know...
But, you know, you give this up, you've got plenty of outside space.
And it was the land, with its equestrian potential,
that really reminded Kat of her childhood
and made her fall in love with the property.
She's yet to get a horse,
but their one-acre paddock and stabling block
have been prepped and readied.
-Did you clean this up a bit, no?
So I thoroughly cleaned it out, got mask, goggles, hat,
There was lots of cobwebs and dust, which is good,
it felt good to do a bit of clearing out.
-One loose box here.
There used to be a second here,
so we're going to get a new front in, a stable door there,
and then tack room, which is all lockable.
Then you've got obviously space for tying up said horse there.
-The only thing missing here is a horse.
-What's the plan?
-Well, all in good time, really.
-Eventually you'd like to ride again.
I've been out for a couple of rides
with the girl who's got two horses next door,
-and she's really kindly taken me out.
Yeah, it's been lovely. Really nice.
Kat was also keen to grow her own produce -
something she didn't have the scope to do back in London.
She's definitely got that space here,
and luckily for her, she's been able to take over
a well-stocked greenhouse and kitchen garden
from the previous owner.
You can't take credit for what we're seeing at the moment, can you?
-Not at all!
-Did you inherit much?
I mean, it looks like the owners were keen gardeners.
Absolutely. She was a really keen gardener
and obviously got tomatoes here, there were some more tomatoes.
Cucumber plant here -
we had a couple of cucumbers when we first moved in.
There's lots of herbs, so we've got sage.
-Have you had to learn a bit now?
So, my mother and Kris's grandma
gave me some tips for the raspberry canes, in terms of what to do,
because they'd all finished, so what you have to do there,
and obviously these are nearly finished.
But, actually, if you look here, there's going to be some coming up.
-These must be a different breed of tomato!
-They are so tasty.
The little ones are really tasty. You should try one, actually.
Well, this is how you get the boys into this sort of...
-Well, no, they don't like them, actually.
No! I'm going to try and get them to like them.
-Here, try that.
-Oh, lovely. Thank you.
This is what I do - I go to people's house
who we've helped find a house for them
and I eat their tomatoes, that's my job.
Well, this is thanks to the previous owner. But really tasty.
-They are REALLY sweet. Oh! There are gorgeous.
Although Kat and Kris have only been in their new property for a month,
they already seem right at home.
Later on, I'll be finding out how their sons, Ollie and Sam,
are adjusting to their new country life.
What is your favourite thing about
living out here in the countryside, do you think?
And to kick-start their gardening ambitions,
we'll be visiting Beningbrough Hall
to sample the potential fruits of their labours.
-Oh, I'm off.
-Come on, Kat! Give it some.
-Give it some muscle!
Who needs a gym subscription?
See, you moved to the countryside, mate,
I knew I'd get you maypole dancing.
-Well, cheers, then. ALL:
But, coming up before that, here are a couple of highlights
from our other house-hunting success stories in Yorkshire.
It's always fantastic to hear from our buyers
who made that all-important offer on a house we showed them
and went on to buy their country home.
Way back in the spring of 2010,
Alistair Appleton was property searching
with retirees Alan and Linda from Taunton, Somerset,
who were downsizing and heading north
to the rural surroundings of the Yorkshire Dales.
I think one of our favourite pastimes is walking,
just enjoying the views and the countryside.
What we would like is to be able to look out of the window
and to be able to walk from home, almost.
They wanted their £375,000 budget
to deliver a cosy three-bedroom property
with a large kitchen-diner and lots of hiking opportunities.
So, when Alistair took them to the market town of Settle
on the edge of the Dales National Park,
this Victorian stone cottage showed real promise.
-Well, from the outside, it looks very nice.
-It does look really nice.
And it's in such a lovely position, by the green.
It's certainly a solid-looking building.
The main body of the building is from the 1840s.
-It's not going to fall down any time soon.
-No. That's right.
I think you're going to love the inside.
-Let's hope so.
Alistair's confidence was well placed,
as this home boasted the large open-plan kitchen they were after.
Come on in.
-What do you think about this?
It's a fantastic kitchen. I love it, absolutely love it.
-And the dining area is a nice size.
-It's so light, isn't it?
It's light and bright and been beautifully done up.
I love it.
-You're speechless, Linda.
-And... Is that a tear you were wiping away?
Really? Do you really like it that much?
Aw! I love it when...
It was clear this house tour was becoming an emotional experience.
It's very nice.
So, this is the totality of your downstairs space.
-Yeah, I could live with that quite easily.
-Not crying in this room.
-No, no. I'll contain myself.
I think the combination of the two rooms is just ideal.
It's just what we wanted.
You've got a light and airy modern space to live in there
and a cosy, older-style feel in the lounge.
Upstairs, they awarded top marks to the family bathroom.
We have "perfect" we had tears, we have "perfect" -
it's very good.
And with a total of three bedrooms,
the view from the master completed that perfect picture.
The views out to the green.
The green AND the beginning of the Dales.
The small garden was surrounded with traditional dry-stone walling.
But would this all fit within their £375,000 price limit?
Perhaps if I pitched this one at 340,000?
Yeah, I'm inclined to say about 340 as well.
-You're both being very optimistic.
-It's on the market for 365,000.
I know we both love this house, don't we?
It just feels right for us.
It just seems this is what downsizing is about.
Linda and Alan were true to their word,
bought that charming cottage
and are now enjoying their rural life in Settle.
A year later, in the autumn of 2011,
Jules Hudson was on a house search mission
with Stuart and Tracy from Twickenham, London.
They had left their jobs in the city with the aim of working freelance
and returning to the Yorkshire countryside to be close to family.
Welcome back to Yorkshire.
-Cos this is your patch, isn't it?
-What do the family think about it?
-They don't know.
We haven't told them. It's a big surprise for them.
Armed with their budget of £700,000,
Jules hoped to make that big surprise a reality
and helped them pinpoint a detached house
with up to four bedrooms, along with a large, sociable kitchen.
Close to the village of Bishopthorpe, they had
this extended late-19th-century farmhouse to look at.
Now, a little bird has told me that you have spotted this online.
-But you haven't been inside it yet.
So, tell me, what was it about this
that attracted you from the pictures that you've seen?
Well, initially, the location.
And then I think the fact that it's got a nice driveway,
it's set in own plot, which is something you really like.
So, yes, we do like stone-built, but this is old-style brick,
which is also really attractive to us.
Could this be the one? Come on, let's have a look.
After promising signs outside,
it was time to see if the interior layout
would furnish them with the space they were after.
-Well, let's see how this matches up to your expectations of it.
Come on in, Stuart.
-Nice and light. This is what I would call a Christmas tree hallway.
-Where you can put your big Christmas tree.
Come and have a look in the kitchen.
So, what do we think of this?
-That's nice, yes.
-Is it wide enough put an island in?
-I knew that was coming.
I was waiting for the whole island...
I suppose you wonder about whether you want to ruin the flow through,
but I don't think we should discount the idea of an island.
I think we may be trying it.
Not only was the kitchen the bright and airy space they wanted,
it flowed through to a conservatory.
And there were even more sociable reception spaces
with a formal dining room leading into an enormous sitting room.
-This is a lovely size, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's wonderful.
It would be tremendous for parties, I think.
Parties, Christmas, hosting Christmas for the family.
We've got about 20 years of catching up to do on that.
The property also had plenty of other areas
for family and friends to chill out in,
with an additional reception room on the ground floor.
Upstairs there were four bedrooms as well as a family bathroom
along with a massive master en suite.
So, how has this sort of matched your expectations so far?
There's a broad grin. Don't fight it. Go on.
Um... Matched, if not exceeded my expectations.
-It's a really nice house.
Wrapped up in a splendid half-acre plot,
it met their property requirements,
if they could decide it was worth investing in.
-This is ideal.
I mean, is this the sort of garden you would be prepared to take on?
How green-fingered are you?
I think Tracy only needs to spend a couple of hours a day
and this would be fine.
Love it. Got his own back there, didn't he?
I love it. Yeah.
Now then, the price.
You have seen it online -
do you remember what it was on the market for?
The space is great.
I can imagine living here, entertaining friends here,
having my family here.
Just everything about it adds up, really.
I absolutely love it.
I'm happy to report that they did decide to buy that enticing property
and have enjoyed being reconnected to their Yorkshire roots ever since.
So two more happy outcomes there from our property-searching efforts.
But of course securing a new home is just the first step of building
a fresh life in the country.
We are back in North Yorkshire with Kris and Kat.
I have already seen how they are successful in the throes
of settling into that magnificent period property I showed them.
As they're branching out into home-grown produce,
we've arranged to get some local fruit-growing advice
at nearby Beningbrough Hall,
a 300-year-old stately home now in the hands of the National Trust.
Gardener Mark Pethullis has tended the kitchen garden here
for over 20 years,
including caring for a community orchard planted by local families.
-Good to see you.
This is Kris and Kat, who I told you about.
Mark, this is a beautiful garden.
It feels very formally set out.
How long has it been in this shape and form?
Some bits have been here a long time, some are relatively new.
The orchard was only planted in 2009. 2010.
I mean, there is a lot to this garden.
I imagine it obviously served the big house here.
Yes, the kitchen garden, particularly,
the walled garden was all cultivated originally.
This was historically called a slip garden,
so it was vegetables and fruit.
I think, during the war,
a lot of the lawns were dug up to grow vegetables,
the Dig For Victory effort.
So it's had a mixed history.
The mid to late 19th century was the heyday for the gardens
when up to a dozen gardeners
maximised fruit and vegetable production
to serve the appetites of the grand house.
-You've got apple trees at your place now, haven't you?
A little but unsure as to how to look after the tree.
-Any advice you can give?
-Is it an old tree?
-It is an older tree.
-Winter and summer pruning comes into it.
Winter pruning is taking the thicker wood out
to try and rejuvenate the tree, get new growth come in.
Also helps get rid of the dead and diseased wood.
Summer pruning is what we've been doing with these -
shortening the new growth back.
That encourages the fruit tree to produce more flower buds.
What type of tree do we have here?
This is an old variety called Dog's Snout.
It's called that, presumably, cos of the point on it,
which somebody thought looked like a dog's nose.
You'll notice that one has got quite a waxy coating on it,
and that just protects it from bad weather.
This garden now contains 48 different varieties of apple.
Much of the crop makes its way to the visitor shop and restaurant.
Today we're gathering a late-season harvest,
and our yield is being added to some apples and pears
that were picked earlier to make some fresh juice.
-We're getting close to the business here, aren't we?
-This is a press, I take it?
-Apple press, yes.
You can press anything in it, vegetables, tomatoes, pears.
-We do apples and pears, mainly.
-So these are going to go into...?
-Chop them into quarters.
If you put the whole apples in, they don't go together very well
-and you get a lot of wasted space.
We find that sometimes we mix different apples
and you get an interesting mix - no two batches are the same.
So you can mix it? Putting pears in...
Yes, every single batch is a different colour, different flavour.
But also, just chopping these different types of apples,
the knife went through this Dog's Snout in a very different way.
It felt almost pear-like going through.
Some of the apples are very soft, and they do get sweeter in storage.
Some apples are much nicer when stored for a few weeks.
-Have we got enough here to play around with?
-Should be fine.
Put them in the mincer.
The next stage is to grind them down a bit.
The more of a pulp you get, the more juice you get out of it.
So minced apples, you get more juice.
-Come on, Kat! Give it some.
-Come on! Give it some muscle.
Sometimes you get the odd apple that gets lodged.
-Just go backwards slightly.
-And back again.
-OK, I've got you.
Just to free it off.
You've got a big apple tree - you better get used to this.
I was just thinking that I'd quite like to have one of these,
and now maybe not!
Who needs a gym subscription?
The next stage is to place a disc of wood, called a cheese,
on top of the apples, engage a locking pin
and turn the press.
So, you moved to the countryside, mate -
I knew I'd get you maypole dancing.
Have we not got a little Shetland we can just attach to this?
You can stand in one place and do it like a rowing motion.
It's a bit worn, but you can try that.
This large press was acquired around 15 years ago
from a home-brewing supplier at a cost of several hundred pounds.
-How much juice can you get out of one press?
-Well, a full barrel.
On a good day, maybe get five or six litres.
And now all that's left to do is taste the fruits of our labour.
We've stood next to the apple tree, picked the apples,
pressed them straightaway.
-And here we are.
-Here we are.
-You can see where it has come from, can't you?
-Well, cheers, then. ALL:
Mm, that's delicious. Really good.
I could probably drink more of this
than I would normal apple juice you buy
because it's not too sweet,
it's got that sort of tartness to it.
It's really fresh.
Well, the apple juice is absolutely splendid,
and I hope you two have been inspired
-to make use of all those wonderful fruit trees you've got.
I'm going to have a bit more of this - it's beautiful.
Having gained some useful tips
on how to make the most of their home-grown produce,
I'm finishing off my visit back at Kris and Kat's house.
Their boys, Ollie and Sam, have only known life in the city,
so I'm keen to find out how they're settling in
to their new surroundings.
I tell you what, Kris,
you've got to be loving having a bit of space like this, haven't you?
Yeah, it's fantastic.
The boys come up here, they play on the swing.
It's fantastic being outside.
We could never have had this in London.
Have they said anything about having this extra space?
Have they made any telling comments?
No... I mean...they love it. The conker tree. They...
The smiles speak for themselves, though, don't they?
Yeah, I mean, look at them. They're going crazy over there.
So, how was school today, boys?
Well, it is school, isn't it?
Have you made any new friends at school yet?
Who's your new mates, then, Ollie?
Alfie, Oscar, Lucas. I can't remember...
There's a whole tribe of you, isn't there? Loads of you.
The boys are doing well.
They're making friends and settling in.
-I forgot Benji.
-There we go.
It is a roll call, isn't it?
So, Sam, what is your favourite thing about living out here
in the countryside, do you think?
Like more fields...
and, well, definitely more animals.
Fantastic. You like the animals, do you?
Yes. More less houses.
Less houses! Yeah, well, that's what it's all about, isn't it?
You don't want too many houses around, do you?
Otherwise it wouldn't be the countryside.
Listen, you don't want to be talking to two grown-ups for too long.
We'll let you boys go and have some fun.
-We're going to go inside for a bit.
-See you in a bit.
It's early days,
but the whole family seem to be embracing rural life.
And they've already put things in place
to make the transition from city to country as smooth as possible.
The time I spend with our house-hunters means that
I'm always really invested in their move to the countryside.
And whilst it's still only early days for Kris and Kat,
you can clearly see it's had a positive impact on
not just their lives,
but also on the lives of their two young boys.
And, who knows, maybe what they have just done can inspire
many other people to make their move to the countryside themselves.
I wish them all the very best of luck.
If you dream of escaping to the country in Wales, Scotland,
England or Northern Ireland, and would also like our help,
why not apply online?
Jonnie Irwin heads to North Yorkshire to be reunited with his former house hunters who, with their £850,000 budget, wanted to escape London to be closer to family and raise their own young children in the country. They acted decisively and bought one of the country properties Jonnie first showed them. Despite being in the early months of settling in, Jonnie finds them all in great spirits.
Their children love the great outdoors and are happy in their new school, and the parents are keen to get to grips with making home-grown produce. With that in mind, Jonnie takes them to Beningbrough Hall's community orchard, where they get a workout from squeezing freshly pressed apple juice.