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Welcome to Escape To The Country.
This beautiful corner of England was in many ways the birthplace of one of our greatest hymn tunes.
See if you can guess what it is from my rendition.
# Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo... #
And, if my singing wasn't enough to rouse your spirits, today we'll be meeting a spiritual couple who want
to exchange their hectic city lives for a holistic retreat in the country. There could be dancing...
-I don't generally pirouette in the kitchen but...
-You'd like to.
I wouldn't mind!
And there could be diving...
That's amazing! Can we have a swim?
And then there's the mystery house where they could both jump in together.
You don't really know the way around to lie.
-You could both lie in there.
Today, I'm in Gloucestershire, and that wonderful tune I was
serenading you with is Jupiter from Holst's The Planets Suite.
He wrote that when he was a successful composer living in
London, but he was a Gloucestershire boy born in Cheltenham in 1874.
When he was 17, he came to this church in Wick Rissington to become the organist and choirmaster.
That big tune represents the majesty of the planet Jupiter, but when I
hear it I can't help but think of the beautiful English countryside round here.
Sitting against the Welsh border,
Gloucestershire lies on the northern edge of England's south-west.
This gently rolling arable land has been known since Roman times for its forestry and farming.
Over half of it's designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
and it's dominated by a band of limestone hills known as the Cotswolds to the east,
and the ancient royal Forest of Dean to the West.
Countryside accounts for 90 % of the county and the rest is made up of villages, towns and cities
that are internationally renowned for their architecture.
The use of gold and limestone defines the buildings -
the picture perfect cottages, the mansions, and churches alike.
This county is filled with stunning picturesque views, and the beautiful landscape attracts millions of
tourists each year, who come to Gloucestershire for an experience that's undeniably English.
With all this beauty, it's not surprising
that Gloucestershire costs a pretty penny to live in.
But, across the board, the county's average house price is pretty much near the national average.
However, as soon as you step foot inside the Cotswolds, prices shoot up 40%.
There, a detached house costs £440,000 on average.
It's no wonder that budgets can be stretched, but take a look at what you can buy.
If your budget does stretch to the tune of 1.4 million,
this stunning Grade 2 listed former woollen mill has everything to satisfy your country dream.
It's a fine detached property in Pitchcombe near Stroud and
it's arranged over three floors, and set in beautiful landscape gardens including that charming millpond.
Situated in the heart of Gloucestershire, how about
this traditional timber-framed house in Upton St Leonards?
For a price of £625,000, this historic property
comes with a bespoke oak kitchen and four reception rooms.
Finally, if you dream of living in a quaint Cotswolds cottage, this
detached house in Moreton-in-Marsh is on the market for £375,000.
Built in distinctive honey-coloured stone, it has four bedrooms with open-plan living and dining areas.
Dr Foster came to Gloucester in a shower of rain, but he
doesn't need to worry, because he can shelter in any number of those exquisite properties.
But will they be enough to tempt today's buyers? Let's meet them.
When they aren't jetting around the world,
globe trotters Antony and Niedy base themselves in this two-bedroom flat in Enfield, north London.
Anthony runs an advertising company in Qatar and spends most of his time in Saudi Arabia,
whilst his wife Niedy, a painter,
divides her time between London and her native Germany.
I've worked very hard for many years and I'm ready to make a shift.
And we're ready to make a shift.
We're ready to make a change.
So the time is right to leave their somewhat nomadic lives behind.
The new business plan takes on a more spiritual focus
as they want to open a holistic guest house in the countryside.
We realise that the more we give the more we get.
Doing something like this, a holistic healing guest house, will be very fulfilling for us.
I want to reach people who are stressed out and need some kind of retrieve.
They come to me and get so much more than just a room and a walk in the forest.
With wholesome business plans in mind, they want a lot of
space and have very specific ideas about the style of the house, too.
The type of property we find interesting is something aesthetically pleasing,
artistically interesting, architecturally interesting.
Possibly an old vicarage, a church house, an old mill, something that has got character and space.
-Inside and outside space.
-We need at least six to 10 bedrooms.
I'd like to have a house which represents us as unique artistic people.
As you see, I'm an artist but I'd like to have a bigger studio
where I can paint and do my art and meditation groups there.
I want to have my own organic veggie garden and I want
to move away from a cerebral
to a much more practical day-by-day chop wood, carry water existence.
They've chosen Gloucestershire for its beautiful countryside and good
transport links to London, but what kind of location are they after?
I personally would like to go more closer to a village or small town.
I'm a much more remote kind of person, but somewhere in the middle I think.
Clearly, they need to find a happy medium when it comes to location, but are they in agreement about how
they'll be spending their spare time?
I'm looking forward to walks along country lanes with a dog or two.
I'm looking forward to cold nights in front of a fireplace.
I'm looking for exactly the opposite.
I want to be very involved in my painting and meditation groups, and I also want to be
with people who come and visit me, meditate with them and be involved, be in the guesthouse.
Before we can start looking for their new home, we need to find out what their flat is worth.
This is an excellent ground- floor Edwardian converted flat.
It's got extremely spacious rooms and lots of original features.
I'd recommend putting it on the market at a figure of £425,000.
So what's their final budget for this new back-to-nature business venture?
Our budget for this property would be up to £750,000.
Niedy and Anthony have come to Gloucestershire to relax, but to be honest I think their
stress levels will go sky high when they find out how much things cost here in the Cotswolds.
To get what they want - the six bedrooms and the space to expand their business - all for £750,000,
it's going to be a struggle so I think I need to talk to them about their budget.
We'll be starting our search in the villages surrounding Stroud, which has direct train links to London,
as Niedy and Anthony want to be within the three-hour commute to the city for prospective guests.
In today's show, we'll be viewing three incredible properties, each offering great opportunities.
As ever, I won't be revealing the price straightaway.
The last is the mystery house, which will present a more refined business plan at home and away.
-Welcome to Gloucestershire.
Anthony, you were born in England and Niedy, you're from Germany,
but neither know the English countryside well.
No, we actually hope you find us the right location here.
-So you're international travellers coming home.
-That's exactly right.
Gloucestershire is quintessentially England but it's also in the Cotswolds, which is quite expensive.
For the bedrooms and the land and the meditation hall and the studio,
-looking around on the market, all of that classically comes into about 1.5 million.
-I know we've talked about upping the budget a little.
We're prepared to go to 850 and also we're prepared to make compromises.
Compromise is very good, we love to hear that.
For 850 right at the top of your budget, what are you looking for?
We're looking for four to six bedrooms,
a bit of land to add on later outbuildings, meditation hall...
-But you want to be able to move in for the top budget?
There are some beautiful properties we have sniffed out for you.
Lots of unusual things, so get your compromise hats on, but I'm excited to show you.
We are, too.
I'm really glad Anthony and Niedy upped their spend
as I'm sure we can find a property that will fit the bill.
With a revised budget of £850,000, they're looking for an
architecturally unique property with character, four to six bedrooms,
outbuildings with potential to convert into guest accommodation, and studio space for Niedy.
Plenty of land for guests to roam, and that rather more elusive
healthy dose of good energy to suit this meditational move.
With all that in mind, we're kicking off our property search in the pretty village of Chalford,
four miles east of Stroud in a particularly pleasant
part of the Cotswolds known as the Golden Valley.
Chalford is home to a growing community of artists
so Niedy should feel right at home.
The area was one of the centres for clock manufacturing in the 17th century, and our
first property started off life as a humble weaver's cottage.
Here we go. Right.
-Isn't that lovely?
-Isn't this beautiful? The Golden Valley.
-Wow, it's beautiful.
-I love the hilly and daleyness of it all.
Yes, it's quite steep, isn't it?
-Yes. I like that.
-The property I want to show you is this one.
You said you wanted quirky and historical.
It feels already a really sweet energy, really welcoming how it's laid out here.
I really like it, I want to go in.
-It's certainly a kind of period experience.
Let's go straight in here.
This is the oldest part of the house, this was the stables
and they have turned it into a sort of dining room.
As you can see, they've put this slightly modern staircase up to a snug, would have been a hayloft.
I like the skylight and the height of it.
I was surprised when I came in, I thought it was kind of a low cottage and now we have all that space.
Can you think what you might use it for?
It could be a working room for me.
Let's see what else we have here.
Let's do that.
Let's go into the main body of the house.
So this is the main part of the old house.
You can see this central beam would have actually been two.
Two families would have lived here so it would have been split in two.
-They lived small back then!
-Yes, they did.
Now it's a nice big kitchen, really nice.
I like it a lot, with the sitting area there.
-Yes, and also eat in kitchen.
-And then the stove.
-Yes. A range cooker.
-A lovely inset.
Let's take a look in the scullery, there's not masses of space.
Just poke your head in here.
-This would be the food preparation area.
-Functional, I suppose.
-It's not massive.
-No, it's not.
I don't generally pirouette in the kitchen but...
-You'd like to.
-I wouldn't mind!
Let's continue our tour. Mind, there's a slope here.
Welcome to the 18th century.
-Moving through history, yeah.
-That's really nice.
Amazing. The drawing room.
It's a pot-pourri of a house, there's a bit of this and a bit of that.
We like that.
Bit by bit, they're starting to appreciate the way the character of this house unfolds.
Next door, there's another sitting room. That's four reception rooms in total.
On the first floor there are three bedrooms, one with double aspect windows
making the most of the views, and another with a cosy window seat.
There's also a family bathroom, where we're headed next.
-That's really nice. I love this bath.
Free-standing, great. Cork floor.
Yes, a distinctly English thing.
And it flows on almost as an en suite
-into the master bedroom.
-That's really nice.
It's nice and big,
and high enough.
-Really nice, and leaded windows.
-The whole house has beautiful windows.
This is a very sizable room.
For an old property to have this big a master is wonderful.
And the tour doesn't end there.
Further up and there's yet another floor with lots more interesting
space that could meet their artistic and spiritual needs perfectly.
Please do mind your head up here because there are some pretty lethal beams.
There's space up here, you've got a bedroom there and a bathroom.
-That's so cute.
-It's so unusual.
I think this would be a lovely place to do art, to meditate maybe even?
More meditation than art.
It's a bit kind of too low, but meditation is very good.
I can almost hear the cogs turning as Anthony and Niedy figure out
how to make this property work as their guest house.
There's much more to take in outside, too.
We're going to look at the two-storey outhouse, the ground floor of which is currently used
as storage but I think it's the upstairs that has loads of potential for their many interests.
Well, a big room.
I think it's a sort of
games room/meditation workshop. I can see that happening.
-It's good to see you thinking so hard about the space.
-We're hard thinkers.
Let's take a look at the garden because that's very big and extraordinary.
The grounds here are set in well over an acre.
They're really rather special as they've been zoned into formal, natural and even secret areas.
It's the most fantastical garden.
Not least because it's got all these levels and vignettes like the grotto here.
And then this amazing view down the Golden Valley.
You have the sun coming here in the afternoon.
This is south west so the sun sets down the valley and all afternoon this is bathed in golden light.
I like the different layers.
Terraces, and you can sit in different areas.
People can wander around and find their own peace and solitude, which is very nice.
Now, the price.
Yes, the price. I'm going to pitch it low, I don't know why.
I'm going to pitch it at 795.
I would say actually much lower.
I'd go between 500 and 550.
OK. That's a good spread. It's actually on the market for 775.
Why don't you wander round. I know there's a lot that may or may not work with your project,
-and I'll see you at the front.
-OK, see you later.
It turns out that character in the Cotswolds comes at a price much higher than Niedy anticipated.
Still, it's under budget at £775,000.
I described this Grade 2 listed house as a historic pot-pourri
because the versatile living spaces over the three floors are a real journey through time.
Our first house certainly delivers on period features,
but can they see it working as their holistic guest house?
When I saw the house, I really thought it was a nice property.
It really has a lovely feel.
It's a super family home. It's steeped in character and tradition,
and it has wonderful nooks and crannies, and a beautiful garden.
For us, in terms of a holistic healing guest house, it doesn't really tick all the boxes.
My feeling is, for the money, I'd rather have more inside space than outside space, you know?
-I knew that the Cotswolds is an expensive area
and we'll be hard-pressed to find the right place for our budget
without making maybe more compromises than we're willing to make, I don't know.
Let's see what the future brings.
Antony and Neidy's dream of creating a holistic sanctuary in rural Gloucestershire
means they'll also want to be in reach of a few amenities
and attractions to keep their guests occupied.
And with their keen interest in architecture, Tewksbury in the north of the county's well worth a visit.
They'll be spoilt for choice as it's steeped in history
and showcases one of the best medieval townscapes in England.
-Welcome to Tewksbury.
-Their meeting up with town guide
Patricia Shakesby for a private tour.
So most of these buildings are medieval, particularly this one.
As you can see there's a jetty here.
This is called a half-timbered jetted house and this jetty means that the floor above is bigger.
That was because you were taxed on the land you stood on.
-More space, less tax.
-More space, less tax.
The surrounding rivers and flood planes prevent development
and so for the most part the town has hardly changed since the 14th century.
Now this is a little medieval cottage
actually as it would have been and of course no windows.
There would just put shutters up, they didn't have glass then,
certainly not the size to fit the window.
There are 200 listed buildings but the main attraction
has to be the abbey which dominates the town.
Wow! This is huge!
Yes, the largest Norman tower in Europe, which I suppose must mean the world.
At the beginning of the 13th century, this was the only abbey
not to be ransacked for its wealth by King John.
-because he was a great friend of the then abbot and he stopped him doing it.
But every other abbey in this country,
King John had a little thieving done - put it that way!
And entering the abbey under the huge Norman arch,
the Romanesque architecture inside is equally impressive.
With the original 8 stout columns supporting the ornate vaulting in the roof.
We're approaching the counsel and you would be able to have
a very good view of the magnificent medieval stained glass.
The rarest glasses are not the stained glass at the end,
but the two at the side. They've got the most amusing faces.
The abbey has been a sacred haven to many for centuries.
Our challenge is to find Antony and Niedy a spiritual haven of their own.
So we've had a morning driving round Gloucestershire, what are your first impressions?
I think it's really nice, really lovely landscape.
Yes, it's quintessential England really,
exactly the kind of England that we're looking for. Just perfect.
And you don't get countryside like this in Germany, do you?
You would find that if you go to south Germany, definitely, you know.
I'm not asking you leading questions, I'm not!
Let's not compare.
Our next house is in the small village of Nympsfield
which is six miles southwest of Stroud
and within an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The village is situated on a former Roman road and has a selection of
amenities including a pub and two churches.
Antony and Niedy are looking for a house with bags of room and this one is a labyrinth.
We've upped the space stakes by nearly 2,000 square feet.
Here we are.
Lovely - we like all those words!
What are your first impressions of the energy?
It feels very welcoming, how it's set out.
Definitely more space at least in first impression, wouldn't you say?
Yeah, it looks big.
It's definitely a much bigger property.
This part is about 300 years old, it used to be part of a convent.
-Yeah, this was the orphanage.
-Shall we take a look inside?
This property has been designed like a horseshoe
and has been extended and thoroughly modernised inside
but will it be to their taste?
Nice big hall, straight into a nice big dining room.
-Lovely and light.
-Do I feel a little hesitation, what's going on?
-It's the carpet!
-You don't like carpet's do you?
Yes. You can always take the carpets up.
Sure, sure you can. And you can have guests here, loads of guests
at the big table like they have.
I think the thing that's striking about it is that it has been
modernised to bring it up to pretty much a contemporary new build.
Bear it in mind, we're going to look at the Kitchen next.
The Kitchen... Much bigger.
Oh, nice, really nice. I like the size.
-I think I get it now, it's sort of old on the outside and modern inside.
No carpet in here. You've got a very big utility room and a big larder
so there's space if you're going to be cooking for lots of people.
It's very clean, very neutral energy,
so we have to kind of come in with our new energy.
Probably make some changes.
Back through the dining room and off the hallway, there's a cosy family room and a cloakroom.
I think that Antony's feeling the business potential of this house,
but I'm not convinced it's delivering the right energy that Niedy's after just yet.
Perhaps the sitting room will hit the spot.
-this is your sitting room.
Lovely open fireplace.
-And the stonework...
-And it's really nice and bright here, I really think it's nice, yeah.
This is much more like it somehow, it has character, it has feeling and it's a fair size.
Probably the room where we also
have to put the guests in and sit in. A meeting point.
At last Niedy is warming up to this property, so next we're heading
to the modern extended wing which should really get their fires burning.
-Here, up the steps, we come into the big...
Wow, and that's a really big wing.
Isn't it magnificent?
-Yeah that's a really good room.
-So obviously the snooker table doesn't come with the property, sadly,
but you wouldn't want it, cos this I think would be a perfect room for your classes, for meditation.
Absolutely, this is what I thought, you know?
It's really big, like a hall.
Off the wing is a large,
bright conservatory, through which is yet another surprise.
That is just such a surprise.
That's really amazing. I always wanted a pool
and I didn't put it out as a wish cos I thought we can't
-but here it is.
That's just gobsmacking, really!
It makes me want to go for a swim as well! It's great isn't it?
A real, real value added plus. Well done.
-That was a plus?
-Very good, very good.
We like that.
An indoor swimming pool wasn't on their wish list but it really seems to have whetted their appetites.
Weaving our way through this labyrinth we're going to check out
the living areas upstairs in the newer part of this house.
There are two bright double bedrooms, one with an en suite,
a single bedroom currently used as a study,
and a large family bathroom, but I'm taking them straight to the master bedroom.
-That was a big wow!
That's a really wow room, yeah.
I love the seating area there as well.
And lots and lots and lots of storage.
A wonderful en suite with a Jacuzzi bathtub,
-but carpet in the bathroom.
They like carpet! By the end of this house you'll love carpet - you'll want it everywhere!
This side of the house is served
-by that staircase and then, through this door...
There's another staircase?
-So this is the other staircase.
That's nice, they've got big windows.
OK, we may need a map here! Across the hallway is the second landing,
off which is another bathroom and a bedroom, again being used as a study.
-Then you've got this room at the end.
-That's nice too.
There really is a lot of space in this house.
-How many bedrooms again?
-Four on the other side and two on this side.
So alternatively you could, if you were feeling very generous,
sacrifice that big master bedroom, have this as your bedroom and have those four rooms as your guest room.
-Yeah, that probably makes sense.
-And also with the layout
and the different landings,
that would lend itself to sort of our space and their space.
Let's go outside in the garden cos the garden's beautiful. Not huge, but beautiful.
I'm glad that Antony and Niedy are imagining how to use all this space,
cos I really think the large and versatile layout could work for them.
So let's see whether they can picture their guests
enjoying the outside space as well.
This is quite an interesting garden cos it's all in different rooms.
I really like the garden it's laid out in a really nice way.
-The landscape... Yeah.
-You've also got this quite interesting outhouse over there,
with a greenhouse attached which I think you could also do something with.
-At the moment it's just full of storage.
-I definitely need a tour and a plan!
-There's so many rooms and so much space.
-You can see here, how big it is -
it stretches all the way across and the pool room as well.
How much do you think this is worth.
Right, that's really difficult to say actually. 825?
Again, I would have gone a bit cheaper, 750.
Well between you you're pretty much on, it's on at 795.
The interesting thing about it is that there's a lot of space,
-but perhaps not quite the character.
-Well you said you wanted another tour round. Be my guests.
-Take a stroll and I'll see you at the front.
-OK, thank you.
At £795,000, this extensive property is still well under budget.
You get a lot of house for your money and there's more than enough
left over to remodel it in their own style.
But does it feel right?
I really like this house actually.
It sort of grew on me, room after room after room, I think I was seduced by the size of it.
-And also, what I really liked was the pool, I must say.
-The pool, what a surprise that was.
Just totally unexpected.
It's a classic case of space versus character, isn't it?
I'm really looking for space and you're really looking for character.
I miss the character.
You see other properties where you have nice lead windows and here you have the PVC
and if we are able to change it in our way then I can really see
that this is a house where we could start our plan.
Ah-ha! Come, come, don't be sheepish!
Time to leave.
-Did you have fun?
-OK. Yeah, we had fun.
Bye, bye, Fido.
For many people, the start of autumn signifies the descent towards cold and grey winter months,
but for one place in Gloucestershire it's time to celebrate nature at its best and most colourful.
This is the National Arboretum in Westonbirt where 600 acres
is home to one of our most precious resources - trees.
Trees were a particular passion of my gran
and her enthusiasm rubbed off on me
so I'm excited to be visiting one of the finest collections of temperate trees and shrubs in the world,
which includes no less than 16,000 specimens.
I've come to meet Mark Ballard,
who heads the tree team here, and has offered to guide me round the park.
The arboretum was first established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford,
and later developed by his son George.
It was George's fascination with Japanese maples that led him to collect so many different types.
Wow, these are beautiful!
The scene-stealing reds and golds of the maple glade in autumn remains one of the park's biggest draws.
I think these were probably planted around the 1850s.
-So this is Sir George's work.
It's amazing, the thing about these arboretum owners,
they planted these trees and didn't get to see them grown.
No, they had tremendous foresight and we're kind of reaping the dividends of their hard work today.
We have that responsibility to make sure we keep
planting trees so that future generations will have something to enjoy.
For the long-term survival of this grade-one registered landscape, it's vital to plan ahead,
as many of the trees take at least 50 years to reach maturity.
It's a nice place to walk around but is there a serious aim to it?
Botanically, the collection is really important.
The collection offers different things to different people.
It's a pretty place, the picturesque landscape is important,
but we do get a lot of tree geeks come as well.
There's an onus of responsibility on us so we collect seed in the wild so we know exactly what it is,
take advice from locals and so on as to how it grows,
and bring that back to the collection to add to what we've got.
So you say there are 600 acres.
-Is it full?
So what happens to the new seeds? Do you have to chop stuff down?
Removal of a tree isn't always a bad thing. Obviously it can be
dead, dying or diseased, but, more importantly,
it's making sure we've got room to put new plants,
so when they reach the end of their shelf life, sometimes a tree has to go.
Now it's time for me to try out my tree-spotting knowledge on a variety I recognise from the city.
This is similar to the one we get in London, the London Plane.
It's a relative and they're really good street trees because you can see the bark,
as it peels away... Obviously the trees absorb pollution
and it's a good way of it shedding its polluted skin.
Look at the canopy, it's amazing.
What a great job you have.
As the sun sets across the Gloucestershire countryside,
Niedy and Anthony take time out and reflect on their property search so far.
OK, Niedy, what did you think of the weaver's house?
I really loved it, I must say.
It was a really nice period-featured house
with loads of different rooms out of different centuries.
Also, I liked the outside building where I saw myself having a studio.
I really liked the house, it was oozing with character and history,
it really was. I just thought, "If only we could have a bit more inside space
"and a bit less outside space, then it would be, you know, more commercially viable somehow."
So what do you think about the pool house?
The pool house really grew on me, actually.
I loved it from the outside, the three gables.
I really liked the combination of lots of rooms, lots of space, lots of en-suite bedrooms,
but I know that from your perspective
it was kind of lacking in character, wasn't it?
Yeah, it was lacking in character and I was a bit kind of disappointed on that side,
but we had the space, like you say.
So after all, I'm very kind of looking forward to tomorrow
to see what the next two houses... how they will look
and there's a mystery house, I heard, so let's see.
I'm very excited as well. Oh, great! THEY LAUGH
Jet-setters Anthony and Niedy want to cash in their air miles
and set up a holistic guest house in the Gloucestershire countryside with a budget of £850,000.
We've shown them two properties so far, and coming up, the vital energy hits the right note.
-Good feng shui?
-Very good feng shui actually.
And then there's the mystery house, where they could really cash in.
-You could charge a lot of people lots of money to stay here.
-Brilliant, sounds ideal!
Yesterday went quite well. They're such a magical couple with a magical project,
but I don't think the property quite hit the mark so today I'll give them exactly what they want,
and then, with the mystery house, something they probably don't want,
but will make them think long and hard about their project here in Gloucestershire. Here goes.
Another lovely day in Gloucestershire.
How are you feeling about the house this morning?
What do you feel that you should be seeing?
I think we've seen character and I think we've seen the space.
-You want them both, don't you?
-We want both together, if possible.
She's character, I'm space, she's town, I'm remote.
-Squaring the circle.
-Squaring the circle, exactly.
Let's see how we get on today.
Our first property of the day sits in the far west of the county,
two miles from the village of Woolaston
on the Gloucestershire Welsh border.
Set in beautiful countryside,
dotted here and there with small farms and cottages,
it's a small hamlet largely surrounded by woodland.
The village has a post office, as well as a small shop selling locally-sourced fresh food.
The pleasant location makes it an ideal haven for walkers.
Down a private and very rural country lane, we find our next property.
It's a real slice of old England, and, on the face of it, a perfect match for their grand plan.
-Here we are.
-I'm very excited about this property.
Yes, this is really something.
-That's really amazing.
-It's really, really something.
This property comes with a lot of very interesting features, not least the fact that you own this valley.
You'll notice that we drove up here and this is the end of it. That's because you own it.
Wow, that is amazing.
-You own this...
-Valley owners, Niedy!
..And you own another 10 acres of land behind it.
-So this would be your retreat.
-You've got 10 bedrooms in this property.
Wow. It looks really big.
-It's already being used as a residential retreat centre.
-Yes, so there's lots of scope,
but what's most important is how do you feel about the energy of this place?
-Good feng shui?
-Yes, very good feng shui, actually, as it happens.
-Do you want to look inside?
-A very good find.
As rural retreats go, they rarely come more remote than this.
The former corn mill and attached cottage sits in nearly 14 acres of land.
First impressions outside are great, but how will the vibe fare inside?
Straight into the kitchen, very countrified.
It's really nice.
It's a two-level affair.
Because the land is on a slope, what happens is
-you go straight out into the garden from the upper level.
Then here is this gigantic larder underneath, some storage for your food.
-What do think of the layout? Slightly unusual.
-It's very unusual.
I like to have the space up there and cooking here. I think I can go out there,
that really makes it for me, going through there.
Shall we look upstairs?
So this is all beech wood.
Everything here is made from beech, probably from the local woodland.
It's very nice, I love it.
-Coming here and having the open fireplace, that's very nice.
I want to show you one of the main rooms, it's quite impressive.
It's a good room, huh? Massive high ceilings, massive high window.
This is what we're looking for in a house!
I think you could have very good sharings in here and a lot of good times, I think.
-I love it.
Let's go upstairs.
It's a fabulous start so far.
They're both loving the style, space and the rustic features.
Lots more lovely beech wood everywhere.
On the first floor there are two double bedrooms, both of a good size,
pus a single bedroom and the family bathroom.
There's also the master bedroom, featuring French doors out to the garden.
So they're quite simple rooms but, I think,
particularly thinking about what you're going to do, they're sweet and charming.
Yeah, you can always put a nice bed and something special in there,
and make it a more special room.
-Artwork and something different.
-Theme the rooms,
-like we wanted to do.
-Yes, theme the rooms.
Oh right, that's wonderful.
There's more to theme up in the attic,
with another two double bedrooms featuring attractive exposed roof timbers.
There's yet more space in the cottage, which is adjacent to the mill.
Laid out over three floors, it has great potential to develop as guest quarters.
On the ground floor of the cottage, there are two sitting rooms,
kitchen and dining room with original flagstone steps.
Up on the first floor, there are three bedrooms and a family bathroom.
Right up in the attic, there are another two double bedrooms with exposed ridge beams.
That's a great number of rooms to theme, if they're up for the challenge.
We're going to take a look at the large stone-built studio as well -
a perfect space for meditation, yoga, painting, you name it.
-It's really a good room.
-Yes, wonderful, isn't it?
All these doors open up, concertina style...
-..so that you can have it all open in the summer.
This is a good meditation space, isn't it?
Yes, or artist space.
This is exactly the place we were looking for, to have an outside building like this.
-The height, the size, it's perfect.
-We like to hear that.
Let's go outside.
There's a lot to take in and it doesn't end with the mill house, the cottage and the studio.
There are also outbuildings aplenty, including barns and stables.
Although the tour of the buildings may be complete,
there's still some 14 acres to explore,
including woodland and pasture.
This is so exciting.
-Beautiful countryside, and it's yours.
-Pretty much everything you can see.
-So the river is on the property then?
This is actually perfect to have little celebrations there and people sit and hang out in the nature.
-Yes. For solstice, you mean? Summer solstice, that kind of thing.
-So, how much do you think all that costs?
OK, well I'm going to go to the limit and say 850.
Yes, I also think it's quite high in our budget.
I'd say maybe 800, hopefully?
You're always kind of wishful thinking!
You're right, it's 850. Right at the top of your budget.
Take a stroll through your estate and I'll see you at the front and have a think.
We'll go and ruminate, then. Thank you.
So bang on their budget of £850,000, for this plot you get two for the price of one.
The substantial 17th-century property has...
But is that too much land to handle?
This property is magic, really.
I think I'm so grateful to have seen it and I'm so pleased with it.
It's got a very protective feel around it.
I love the fact that it's got a river running through it.
It's beautiful. It has the charm we're looking for,
it has the space we're looking for,
it has loads of land, which is a bit frightening!
I just love that feeling of stepping out and the dawning of...
-it's our land! It's unreal, isn't it?
-Yes, it's a beautiful feel here.
What would we do with 14 acres?
Good question. We never really thought we'd have that much land before, did we?
No, but when you talked about bees...
Yes, I'd like to do bees, actually, and I think with all of the wild flowers they have here,
that would be conducive to that.
The feeling I get with it is actually not to do very much.
The negative is probably that we have to put money in to renovate the cottage.
I'd buy it tomorrow, but you do have to talk to my wife.
-I expect you've got lots to think about after that.
But we're not over yet.
The mystery house is a complete about-face,
because instead of taking Anthony and Niedy into the rural quiet for their retreat,
I've brought them into the middle of a very bustling market town,
because I think this might shake them up and provide some new fresh ideas for their property search.
For our mystery house, we've come to the market town of Tetbury
in south Gloucestershire, which is surrounded by splendid countryside.
The town lies on top of a hill,
full of interesting architecture and has largely remained unchanged
since the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was at the height of prosperity as a major wool centre.
Today, tourists flock to Tetbury to sample its specialist shops, cafes and boutiques.
And with Prince Charles' country estate just a short drive away, it's a very desirable location.
With plenty of visitors, an affluent community and even royalty on the doorstep,
there's lots of business opportunities.
Before we go to the mystery house, I'm taking a slightly different tack.
So far, it's been about Anthony. Now I want to show at Niedy
somewhere to showcase her art.
-Come on in.
-Wow, that's my gallery!
-It's your gallery, yes.
What we thought we'd do is, rather than show you another massive property out in the countryside,
is think a little bit about what you mentioned in terms of not wanting to be so remote.
What I want to show you is a property in Tetbury
with this as the possible space for running your courses.
I'm glad you picked that up, because when we arrived, I finally had that feeling of community
and I immediately saw it as my gallery or, you know,
a really good outlet for art and meditation, maybe, as well.
You'd have to negotiate, but the space you could rent out right at the beginning is £40 an hour.
If you wanted to build up your business bit by bit, rather than laying out all the money,
you could do that and then you could rent this by the month, £500 a month,
use this as your gallery space and then, gradually,
-when you've established yourself, you know, maybe buy something.
I want to see this one and I want to see what is possible here for me.
-Well, I'm going to bookmark this.
There are other options in Tetbury, but I wanted to show there are possibilities,
-because the house I want to show you is around the corner.
-Oh, right, OK.
'We've seen where they could work, let's see what they'd call home.'
-This is the slice of Tetbury I want you to see.
We're in the middle of the town, obviously, it's on a road,
and it is market day, but I think you'll love it. Let's take a look.
Oh, wow, an amazing fireplace.
This is a very stylish property, actually, it's the oldest property that I've shown you.
-It dates back to Elizabethan times.
-But as you can see,
-it's been renovated to a very contemporary style in the last two years.
-Incredible polished oak floors, no carpets anywhere.
-It feels like a town house.
-You come into a little bit of modern,
but still, you have the old. I love that combination.
-This is what, in England, we would call the boutique hotel style.
So you wouldn't have to do a single thing before you could charge people lots of money to stay here.
Brilliant. Sounds ideal. You've hit the nail on the head here.
Let's continue the tour.
Here's your kitchen.
-I like the timber tops.
-It's all bespoke, all made to fit this kitchen.
So, it's a very simple space, but it's perfect,
-because your guests can dine there, and they've got their own little sitting room.
But it flows beautifully into this space.
This, I think, is the centrepiece of the property.
-Wow. It's really high.
-The skylight's beautiful.
This is not even the brightest day. It's completely flooded with light.
-And you've got the deeds from the original house, both from the 1600s.
-It fits very well.
-It does, doesn't it?
With our kind of tastes, putting things in we like,
it would be a really nice place to start.
-And high enough walls for your art, because you've got quite big art.
'There's plenty of space for artwork and plenty of space for guests with four double bedrooms.
'Two bedrooms are on the first floor, one is offered as a twin room
'and next to that is the master suite.'
This is one of the bedrooms on the first floor.
-They're all good sizes.
I think they are using this as their master bedroom, actually.
Lots of nice light. But also, through here...
..you've got a lovely dressing room area into a very stylish bathroom.
-Wow! That's very stylish.
-Very, very amazing.
-This is what they call a bateau bath.
Cos it's scooped at both ends like a ship.
So you don't really know the way around to lie.
-Exactly. Or you could both lie in there.
-But it's a beautifully contemporary space.
-A pitched roof, yes.
-There are more glamorous sleeping options upstairs. After you.
'The staircase continues to the second floor with another twin room
'and an elegant family bathroom with roll-top bath.
'But we're going further up the winding stairs to the top.'
Now, this is a great room. Right at the top of the house.
-Mind your head, Anthony, on the big white beam.
-I'll try very hard.
-And look, open baths. I love that.
That would be my room.
-I thought as much.
See how old and wonky the floor is, they've propped the...
They're up on books.
-It's an art statement, really.
-It's stylishly done, isn't it?
-Sleeping on books.
-Very nice. Very nicely done.
To the point where, really, you don't have to very much more, just put in your furniture
and your art and move in, which is probably reflected in the price.
Well, this is why we wanted to show it to you, because it's a whole different spin on it.
-It's not a big retreat out in the country.
It's a beautiful town house in a great town
where you could look into expanding and building up your business
-with the clientele that's already here.
-A very good idea.
-Yes, it is.
But you could also sleep three couples.
-Yes, you could have a boutique guesthouse...
-I like the idea to have the guest house here and then the art gallery around the corner...
-..and have two businesses going at the same time.
Let's go to the garden to talk about price.
-Lovely. A very small, but beautiful courtyard garden.
-Ringed around with Cotswold stone.
-Mm-hm. Very nice.
I don't know if I would miss a bit more garden for vegetables. I don't know.
It's something I have to think about - if this is enough for me.
-This is the whole mystery house, it turns things on its head.
What do you think the price of this property is?
I would say 795.
Yeah. I was thinking 750.
-I'm always going a bit lower.
-THEY LAUGH In hope!
-Good hope, yeah.
Well, the interesting thing is that buying this property
would be also with the idea you'd have some money left over,
so actually, this property is on the market for 595.
-Oh, that's good. It's not as expensive as I thought it was.
-It's not the brief you gave us, but I think it's quite an interesting prospect.
-Why don't you have a wander round?
That was a good cat among the pigeons.
That cat seems to have been the best thing we've shown them, in many ways.
It's really interesting to see how excited Niedy is.
I wonder whether she can persuade Anthony to agree.
At £595,000, the mystery house is a massive £255,000 under budget,
leaving plenty of money to invest into a business away from home.
This fine Elizabethan house is situated in a highly sought-after town with four large bedrooms,
two of which are en suite, three reception rooms
and a walled courtyard garden.
Niedy is mentally packing her bags to move in,
but will Anthony sacrifice his rural dreams to satisfy his wife?
This is Niedy's house. Pure and simple.
It's minimalist, it has that character which is exactly what Niedy wants,
it's right in the centre of town. In terms of negative, possibly no parking
and the garden's not really a garden, it's a little courtyard.
I actually thought the mystery house would be really the house I liked.
I knew that, because the house this morning was so much what I liked
that they had to sort of come up with something for you. I can see why you like this, totally.
-I'm not saying I don't like it.
-I like the village and we can do it straightaway.
-Yeah, I like it.
-Food for thought. I know you do.
-I really do like it.
Anthony, I think he would agree if I say, "Yes, we will buy this."
I'm really considering making an offer.
So it's the mystery house that generated the most energy for Niedy.
She's fired up and ready to put an offer in, but first, she's got to win over Anthony.
I think there's some serious negotiations to be done.
It was strange, as we were thinking about all the houses on the show,
the mill house seemed to be a clear winner. It offered everything that Anthony and Niedy wanted.
But it seems that the mystery house has brought Niedy back to a whole new set of needs and wants.
It will be very interesting to see whether the two of them can square their conflicting interests.
-Hi, guys. What a beautiful spot.
So has the magic of Gloucestershire lasted?
Are you still in love with the county?
-I loved Gloucestershire, actually.
-Loved it both a lot.
-It is a beautiful county.
We're really glad we came here and saw everything what we saw.
Can we look at the houses one by one? You had so much to say about them.
It would be quite nice to look back over them all. The weaver's house in the valley.
The weaver's house was really beautiful.
The character is everything I wanted.
The garden was a bit too difficult, in the end.
And also, the house was actually a bit too small.
It's a wonderful house to live in, but for what it is that we wanted to do, it didn't really do it.
What did you think about the bigger house -
a convent, an orphanage, and it had a swimming pool?
-It did, that was a surprise!
-Mmm, you liked it.
-I did, yes.
-You liked the house.
It had so much space, but it was somehow lacking in character,
especially internally, I must say,
and that's when we realised that somehow we wanted to find a balance between the two.
Now, the mill house was, in many ways, everything you were looking for.
-What are your thoughts about it now?
-It was a good balance of character and space.
And it also allowed us to have the guest house and the meditation and the art gallery facility.
The downside was 14 acres.
We just don't need 14 acres.
-And we pay for the 14 acres.
-And you pay for that.
So, that brings the house very high up in our price range.
And the mystery house? This was not what you asked for,
-but it seemed to raise lots of interesting questions.
-Niedy loved it.
-I love it.
I think what was very intelligent and incisive of you was to, if you like,
push the envelope a little bit out of our comfort zone.
And it has given us food for thought in terms of the minimalism
-and the character and artiness of it, it was perfect, wasn't it?
It's definitely a house where we could start straightaway a business
and I really liked Tetbury as a village.
I can see myself having a gallery there straightaway.
It seems like it's been quite a journey for you.
How has it all panned out? What's going to happen next?
I think I would like to go back to the last property again
and a have a deeper look into Tetbury and the village and see if this would work for me there.
-To the mystery house for you?
I like the mill house. It somehow pushed all my buttons and I just saw everything
in one place and I thought that was really beautiful.
I think what you've helped us to do is to refine our thinking down to, if you like, the endgame.
It really was a journey for us and we believe that we're getting there.
-Good. Make it happen. The countryside needs you.
-Thank you. Thank you very much.
As you'd expect, the beauty of Gloucestershire seems to have worked its magic on Niedy and Anthony,
even if they can't quite decide which property to settle on.
And if you've enjoyed all this rural property shopping,
then make sure you tune in next time for more Escape To The Country.
'If you want to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales,
'Northern Ireland or England, and need our help, please apply online.'
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail: [email protected]
Alistair Appleton is in Gloucestershire house hunting with a spiritual couple who have their sights set on exchanging hectic city life for a holistic retreat in the country.
They are looking for an architecturally unique character property with four to six bedrooms, and outbuildings with potential to convert into guest accommodation and studio space. They would like plenty of land for guests to roam in too.