Property series. Alistair Appleton helps a couple who plan to move to Cornwall to start a B&B business with a budget of £650,000.
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Yes, today I'm in somewhere very special -
the only place in England that still has an indigenous language.
It was almost wiped out in the 18th century, but there are 300 hardy speakers to date, and it's growing
ever since it was recognised as a minority language in 2002.
Find out where I am in just a moment.
In today's show, I'll be carrying a newly married couple over the threshold of four B&Bs.
There's some big news on the way.
-I could live here.
-Oh, I think let's rephrase that, we're going to live here.
-And there's cause for celebration as we make Escape To The Country history.
Welcome to Cornwall, or Kernow, as they say in Cornish.
Now, the Cornish language was widely spoken round here
right until the Tudor period, when in 1549 the English tried to push through
the Book of Common Prayer, and so outraged were the Cornishmen at having to speak a foreign language
that they rose up against the English, only to be massacred in their thousands at Exeter.
But nowadays the Cornish language is right at the centre of the Cornish renaissance, and people come
from all round the world to live here in this most beautiful of counties.
And not just because of the language.
Hidden away from the rest of Britain on England's most south-westerly tip,
Cornwall is framed by a rugged coastline and just one other county.
No wonder Poet Laureate John Betjeman described this land with its own language
as a country rather than a county.
Five million tourists visit here every year to enjoy some of Europe's cleanest waters and excellent surf.
To top it all off, the county regularly experiences
temperatures higher than the rest of the mainland.
Cornwall's towns and villages are many and varied, ranging from small, secluded and rustic hamlets inland
to seaside resorts like Newquay and Penzance.
But one thing's for sure. Wherever you choose to set up home,
you'll never be more than 16 miles from its wild and spectacular coastline.
Cornwall's fared pretty well in the credit crunch - there are properties
along the coast near Falmouth and Padstow that have held their prices from 2007, and you'd think
with the preponderance of second homes up here that things would have gone badly,
but such is the quality of the location and the property
that people still want to move here in their droves. Take a look why.
If you have a spare one and a quarter million pounds burning a hole in your pocket,
how about this stunning five-bedroom contemporary thatched cottage overlooking the River Fal?
It's beautifully presented with many high-quality finishes,
like the impressive combination of limestone and oak flooring.
And there's even room to park your boat outside.
Or if your budget is £525,000, there's this gorgeous two-bed Cornish cottage.
With exposed beams and brickwork throughout, it overlooks three acres of land,
which includes a paddock as well as a lake.
And for £300,000, you can enter this heavenly chapel,
converted into a four-bedroom home.
Original features such as gothic arches and stained-glass windows abound,
and there are Cornish countryside views to die for.
You see, Cornish property is tasty as clotted cream,
but will it whet the appetite of our buyers today? Let's meet them.
Today's house hunters are newlyweds Nick and Marion.
They live together in this two-bed maisonette in Brixton, South London.
But having spent the last decade residing in the hectic capital,
they feel the need to escape to the quieter surrounds of the country.
We're both country people at heart, you know, and we want space.
We want to be out of the maelstrom that is London, you know, the confusion, the pace, the people.
We want to be somewhere where we can just be us, and grow together.
Part of it is cos we've done quite a lot of travelling over the last couple of years
to quiet and lovely places.
We want to have that as where we live, rather than having to go on holiday for it.
Just to be able to live in a way that is not determined
by the sound of sirens, and these things that are a constant, the constant noise of the city.
So why have they chosen Cornwall to begin the next chapter of their lives?
-It's beautiful, it's got everything we want. It's got the space, the hills, the sea.
-And fresh air.
It's almost a separate country, Cornwall, so if you want to get away from England, that's an easy way.
So where exactly are they looking to move to?
Because we're wanting to start a B&B, we're looking for something that's a bit more rural.
-Somewhere where people can come and feel like they're away from the world.
-A retreat-style country house
with some land in a place that just makes you feel divine.
But it's not just Nick and Marion that are starting up this B&B.
Marion's mum will be joining them too, so there are lots of requirements to consider.
Our absolute must-haves are it's got to have at least six bedrooms, four of which we'd be wanting to let out.
If we've got more bedrooms, that would be great.
Land, up to two acres.
Separate accommodation for us, preferably separate from the letting bedrooms, and obviously
we're bearing in mind Julie, Marion's mother as well, ideally separate accommodation for her.
We want a decent-sized kitchen, preferably a country-style kitchen. I do most of the cooking...
-Which I appreciate a lot.
-And I will be doing most of the breakfasts.
And do they have any other desires?
It would be great if we could find a character property, a period property.
A range, some nice fireplaces...
-Fireplaces would be great.
-Maybe a window seat.
-Some outbuildings there, we could either do those up
and have them as letting, or I know you want to have a studio.
A recording studio would be fantastic.
That's quite the list!
Before they make this life-changing move,
Marion and Nick need to sell their maisonette, so we've arranged for it to be valued.
This is a really well-proportioned two-bedroom split-level maisonette,
benefits from a very lovely south-facing garden and off-street car parking.
I would recommend to put the property on the market at £275,000.
And with Marion's mum also selling her house to finance the move, what's in the pot?
Our budget for this property is between £450,000 and £650,000.
If it's the top end of that budget, it really needs to be an existing B&B
-with a really good turnover of around £50,000 a year.
Phew! Let's sum up.
Nick and Marion are looking for a healthy four-bedroom B&B business.
They need space for Julie to live comfortably too. They want some land,
and they want a fantastic location that's going to make them and their guests feel divine.
So I'm having to please three people, but there are 500 registered B&B businesses in Cornwall,
which means, one, there's a market for them, and, two, there might be something out there to fit the bill.
Our search will focus on the east of Cornwall, between Newquay and the Devon border.
Being close to the sea is important,
so we'll be paying special attention to both coastlines.
We've lined up some fantastic properties for them to see,
but I won't be revealing the prices until they've had a good look round.
And of course there's our mystery house, which is something completely different.
So, welcome to Cornwall.
-How are you feeling?
It's quite exciting, because you're coming to run a B&B,
-and neither of you have ever done that.
Mm, no, we haven't done it before, no.
-We've eaten a lot of breakfasts in B&Bs...
-Well, that's very important.
So you're newlyweds and you're moving in with your mother-in-law...
She's not your typical mother-in-law, that's for sure.
You want a B&B, you want guests, you want a place for you, you want a place for Julie.
Are you looking for three properties?
No. As long as we've got enough space or the potential to create that space, that's going to be fine.
You've got a top budget of 650.
What would you want for that, business-wise?
We need at least four guest rooms, en-suite.
That would be, I mean, an existing B&B for that price I think, at £650,000 -
operating with some kind of repeat business coming in already that we can work on straightaway.
I'm confident, and Cornwall's a great place to run a B&B.
-So let's go and find it.
For an absolute maximum of £650,000, Nick and Marion want a property
with a minimum of six bedrooms, four of which are to be used as B&B.
Ideally Marion's mum, Julie, will have separate accommodation.
And on top of all that they want land and plenty of it. Why?
Because they have something rather intriguing in mind.
So tell me about yurts.
Well, we're thinking, we kind of jokingly suggested we could also do
-tent and breakfast, as well as bed and breakfast.
-Tent and breakfast.
We'd never heard anybody else doing it. And then from tents we kind
of went to more up-market tents, which kind of turned into yurts.
-Yurts are the big round Mongolian things.
-The flatter ones, rather than the tepee types.
They're so peaceful and beautiful, and there's something spiritual about them.
So lots of candles, lanterns, things like that, very romantic.
The first property we're heading to is in the far east of the county,
the quiet rural area of Menheniot, 18 miles west of Plymouth.
Four miles away, in the village of St Germans,
is an attraction for Marion and Nick's future guests, Port Eliot.
Set in 6,000 acres, the house was built as a monastery
for the adjoining church, once the cathedral for the whole of Cornwall.
The house dates back 1,000 years, and has over 100 bedrooms,
just a few more than the place I'm taking Nick and Marion to see.
As you can see, I've brought you to a very bustling, a busy town - not!
Extremely quiet...extremely rural.
And the property I want to show you is actually two properties.
It's this one and that one at the back.
Really, really very pretty.
Present owner bought it ten years ago and completely did it up, very, very sympathetically.
Two properties are very interesting, two separate properties, and I'm looking forward to seeing inside.
-And obviously location, what do you think?
-You couldn't get much quieter than this.
Although you have to realise there won't be any passing trade as such.
It's not really a kind of a town centre where you get lots of people coming in from the street.
We're looking to create a retreat, a really special place
for people to come and kind of be themselves and be revitalised.
I'm going to come now! You've made it sound so nice, and I know the property!
-Let's take a look inside.
Behind the cottage sits the main house, so we'll follow the drive round and begin our tour there.
Come into the hall.
Beautiful flagstone floor here. These are worth a fortune.
-I like it a lot.
-Nice and cosy.
Let's go into the kitchen, cos it's the heart of the home.
-Wow, look at this place!
-Look at this.
-See the bricks in the wall.
He's left some nice exposed parts of the building so you can see through the plaster.
-It's a beautiful kitchen.
-Isn't it gorgeous?
-Ah, and a window seat!
-Lovely window seat, and your lovely cream range.
-I was going to say, beautiful range. Lovely.
-That's lovely, isn't it?
-It's beautifully decorated.
-Let's look through the other rooms, and I can explain the options.
So you've got a little utility room here, which you could remodel.
You've got a great wet room here.
-Oh, look at that, fantastic.
Cos I'm thinking these bedrooms downstairs...
-..could be for your guests.
-Oh, look at that.
That's lovely, isn't it, with that going out onto the terrace?
I was thinking this is ours, though!
Still downstairs but on the other side of the house
is a second bedroom, next to which is a room that could be used as a small sitting room or snug.
But we're heading to the first floor, where there's even more communal space.
Upstairs is a living room.
-Look at that.
-Good Lord, that's amazing.
So this was the hayloft, this upstairs place, and the owners
-put down these lovely oak floors throughout.
-Yeah, really nice.
-Very nice finish. Kept a lot of the beams, you can see.
Replaced the ones that needed replacing.
You could have this upstairs as your space.
-And then your guests are downstairs, and then you've got the cottage as well, for more guests.
I can see a way that we could work it the other way round as well.
-But there's definitely...there are definitely possibilities here.
Just off the living room are bedrooms three and four,
with a staircase leading to the snug downstairs.
And next door there's a family bathroom.
-Look at that.
-It's nice, isn't it?
-It's a lovely bathroom.
Lovely slipper bath, although kind of facing the wrong way.
-You kind of want to look at the view, don't you?
-It's difficult to make decisions about who goes where until we've seen the other property,
-so shall we go and have a look at the cottage?
-That's a good idea.
So leaving the main house, we're heading out into the rain to check out that cottage.
Oh, it's a bit wet out there.
So this is effectively a holiday-let cottage.
-So it's totally self-contained,
and you can see it's been done up to a nice standard.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Again upside down, so you've got the living room and the kitchen upstairs,
-and the bedrooms underneath.
It's beautiful and light up here.
-It's lovely. How many bedrooms are there?
-There's two. You could live here...
-I was just thinking the same thing.
-You could rent out those four rooms.
That's probably going to make us more money.
Let's have a look through the other end.
-It's really quite spacious, it's a good-sized cottage, and very contemporary.
-And it's got a bar!
-It's got its own bar.
-Now there's a surprise.
You might want to take that out if you're holiday renting.
Yeah. However if we lived here...
How much of a trust bar you could establish on that basis...
-So you're talking probably about, you know, tops having eight people as your guests.
-Every room as double.
-Which is, you know, what we were thinking about, four to five, four to five rooms.
-So that's certainly within what we were thinking.
Downstairs are the bedrooms, one dual aspect, and one with
French doors leading out into the front garden. And a shared bathroom.
But it's time to brave the awful weather and see what the outside has to offer.
So there's an acre of land.
It's heaving with rain, so I won't show you all the details, but basically it's pretty much what
-you can see, but also it flows very effortlessly into all this lovely farmland around you.
-You've got a swimming pool.
-Uh-huh, and a little hot tub.
-And a little hot tub.
-But it's not masses and masses of land.
Is that enough for what you want?
Yeah, I think this is absolutely, given the nature of what's around here, this is enough land.
-Yeah, I mean...
-You sounded... you looked a little less impressed.
I think it depends kind of how we use the environment, really.
Cos if we're doing it more as kind of a retreat with the space for people to go and retreat to,
then there's not quite so much space for that, or having mini music festivals, but it's your...
You didn't mention mini music festivals, this is a new one!
-I think it's micro music festivals...
-They'd have to be micros here.
-Micros. I think that's just you and your stereo.
-We've got enough room for six or seven tents.
OK, so the price, how much do you think this little plot of loveliness costs?
-Yeah, I've been thinking about that.
I think I'm probably being optimistic, but I'm going to say anyway 595. For less land.
-No, I think slightly more than that, 625.
-You're spot on.
-Well, there you are.
-625, and it's been on the market for some time.
-So it means that, you know, a sensible offer, you could probably get it for maybe a little less.
It's heaving with rain, so why don't you go in,
look downstairs at the rooms here, and I'll find shelter from the rain.
-Ah, wise move!
-See you soon.
See you soon.
These two properties come in at £625,000, £25,000 under their top budget.
The farmhouse has the requisite four bedrooms for guests,
and the cottage has two,
and both properties have three bathrooms, all told.
The farmhouse has a wonderful galleried landing, and outside,
standing in an acre of land, is a swimming pool and hot tub.
The idea of having two properties does work, because it means we've already got
separate accommodation, should we want to pursue that route. And they're both beautiful.
I mean, I'm very taken with it.
You know, what is crucial is that we have the space to let, and this place has just enough space for us.
-We've got room for four guests, eight guests altogether.
-Yeah. And the kitchen downstairs...
Not much you need to do, probably make two bathrooms, two mini en-suites.
-Plenty to think about.
-There is plenty to think about, absolutely. Lovely place.
It's very, very pretty. Quite nice to have two separate buildings.
It's certainly along the right lines.
It would be trying to decide between living in this bit and renting out the other bit.
The only way we could do it is us living in here in one room and your mum in the other.
-Yeah. It's whether that gives us enough space away from each other.
-Initially it'd have to...
Even though you've got the rolling countryside, the views out there
which are just stunning, there's not a great deal of actual land itself, so there'd be nowhere to put a yurt,
for instance, and certainly the mini music festivals would be out. Maybe micro festivals.
OK, let's get out of the rain, into the relative dry of the car.
As Nick and Marion have their hearts set on running a B&B,
they'll need some local knowledge of places to recommend to their guests.
Top of the list would be Tintagel, the alleged birthplace of the legendary King Arthur
and an inspiration to a host of 19th-century writers
such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and, notably, Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
They're meeting local guide Rob Tremain to find out more.
In the 5th century, Tintagel was noted for its slate-quarrying industry.
All the cliffs along the coast
were quarried for the slate.
In Victorian times, it really started to grow.
The Victorians had heard the legends of King Arthur.
A lot of the buildings in the village - King Arthur's Arms, King Arthur's Great Halls,
all based on the Arthurian legend.
Half a mile out of the village, right on the cliffs looking out over the Atlantic Ocean
is where the story began.
The castle ruins that we see today date back to the mid-13th century
when Richard, Earl of Cornwall, hoping to catch some of the power and glory of Arthur's legacy,
built his castle on this very spot.
On the beach below is Merlin's cave, where, legend has it, on the night of his birth,
Arthur was given to Merlin who carried him through the cave to safety
until he was old enough to return to rule the kingdom.
How the legend of King Arthur stayed alive all these years?
They're wonderful stories in themselves.
They would have been told around the firesides of hearth and home.
All the families would have been telling the tales of King Arthur.
Then moving forward to Victorian times,
Tennyson wrote the Idylls Of The King,
this series of poems with Arthur and Guinevere, the knights questing for the Holy Grail,
right up to the 21st century, stories of Arthur still being written.
If they make the move here, Nick and Marion will have plenty of local myths and legends
to recount to their holiday guests.
But we must get back to the real world and to our property search.
We're heading to the small rural hamlet of Degembris,
five miles south of Newquay.
It's an isolated spot, but just down the road is St Newlyn East
where Nick and Marion could pop in for amenities.
The village is named after St Newlyn, patron saint of the church that dates back to Norman times.
There even a inn, in which to seek shelter from the storm.
-Come on in through your very own stone wall.
Feast your eyes on this.
-Wow. Look at that.
This offers you a lot in terms of B&B potential.
It's not being used as a B&B at the moment, but it has been in the past.
-It's a beautiful Victorian farmhouse built with granite.
-It's quite red, isn't it?
Yeah, it's got all sorts of hues in it,
particularly in the sunlight - not that you'd notice today!
It's lovely. I like the warmth of the stone.
-Let's look inside.
-Come on in. Lovely big Victorian hall.
-It's a nice, big hallway.
Let's go straight in here. This is the sitting room.
-It's a nice size.
-We're talking about a different historical period,
not a barn conversion. You have big, purpose-built, Victorian, strong rooms.
'Across the hall is the mirror image of the sitting room,
'giving them options for a dining room for their guests.
'I'm not sure if the layout of this Victorian house has sparked their imagination yet.'
I get the feeling that you're less excited by this one.
Hm. It's just first impressions, isn't it?
I'm prepared for my mind to be changed.
But at this stage it's a little less...
It's got a little of the wow factor, put it that way.
Yes, I think probably it has.
Well, the kitchen is very important, it seems to win most people over, let's take a look.
-This is a nice kitchen, I think.
-Ooh, lovely size.
-I like it.
You have beautiful Delabole slate on the floors,
which would be worth an absolute fortune if you were putting it down new.
And with a bit of remodelling, this would be a fantastic country kitchen.
I'm even considering that there's enough room in here to feed guests.
..the back staircase.
Ooh, I like that.
'Off the kitchen is a bathroom and downstairs lies a cellar,
'offering two big rooms ripe for conversion.
'But we're checking out the upstairs where there's a very healthy six bedrooms.'
These ones at the front are nice, good-sized,
not really full size Victorian rooms cos they have been cut up.
You could easily put in an en-suite there, there isn't one at the moment.
-That's just a dressing room, is it?
There is plumbing there. The problem here is that none of the rooms have en-suites.
-So this is what you'll have to get you head round.
-You have six rooms but you may have to sacrifice one and parcel it up into en-suites.
'Bedrooms two and three are also at the front of the house,
'along with the family bathroom.
'Bedrooms four and five are at the back.
'Stacks of room for guests and the mother-in-law.
'So let's go find bedroom six.'
Ah-ha, back down the back stairs.
-There's a secret little room.
-Oh, it's cute, isn't it?
-It's a cute one.
You could, at a very extreme pinch, make this your bedroom,
and then you'd have five letting rooms.
-Initially, this could be ours.
The cellar, obviously, upon conversion would change that.
And are you leaving someone out?
Yes, well, if we went downstairs into the cellar,
then it would mean that Mum could have this one.
I feel for Julie...and I feel that reasonably happy is not good enough.
-So, I've got something else up my sleeve.
'I'm beginning to sense a turn in the tide here,
'so we'll head back downstairs and out into the rain,
'where there are still more options waiting.'
Looky here, what have we hidden at the back of the house?
-Extra little places tucked away.
-It's quite big.
-It's a whole annexe,
stuck at the back of the property, perfect, I thought, for Julie.
So this is recently converted from an outhouse.
It was probably a shed or a barn.
-It's really nice.
And there's a very, very nice bedroom and bathroom.
So it's a totally self-contained, little unit.
So with this added into the mix, what do you think about the house now?
Cos you were a bit off-key at the start.
Yeah, I've warmed up, definitely.
Definitely, I think it's got quite a lot of different bits of space that we could use in different ways.
It's a case of thinking about the best permutations of those.
And we haven't seen all of the grounds.
-Keeping them a secret!
Now, this really excites me for you guys,
because this property has two acres of land.
-Wow, that really does change things.
And this has innumerable possibilities.
-I'm sure you could think of a few?
-A little festival...
-..could be happening here.
Plus there's a little bit of a development happening there -
there's a caravan and a big outhouse, which you could also work with.
OK. Yeah, you could make it into a shower block if you were going to have yurts...
Exactly, good thinking. Yurt thinking!
How much do you think it's worth?
I've revised my initial estimate -
I was thinking when I first came in about 500 upwards,
Yeah, I was going to say 550, actually.
Um, so I'll say 575.
You're right on the money this time, that is great.
-It's on at 575, cos remember you've got two acres of land here.
-Yes, that changes things.
You're five miles from Newquay,
this is a great area to have a B&B.
Why don't you go and have a wander round, cos it is a head-scratching property,
like, what are we going to do here?
And I'll see you back at the ranch.
-Actually at the front of the ranch.
This former B&B comes in at £575,000.
There are six bedrooms,
a large kitchen big enough to feed the guests in,
an annexe - ideal accommodation for Marion's mum -
and it all stands
within two acres of land.
So, what do you think of the basement?
-I think it could be quite versatile.
-It's a lot of space,
-and I can see an office, potentially a recording studio...
I think the impressions of this one were not as good as the first one.
It doesn't have that wow factor, it's not as pretty.
It's a kind of grower.
As you move through the house and you see what else it has to offer,
by the end of it, you end up quite taken with it.
I do have a quandary about whether we live in there or your mother.
Frankly, it's the nicest part of the house I've seen so far.
I mean it does have everything in terms of size and space we need,
-given a fair amount of work.
-Yeah, it's the work.
The thing about this house, it's like a Russian doll or something.
Bit by bit, you begin to think, there is in fact real potential here.
These... No longer necessary.
It's a sign!
You'll have to buy the property now!
Constant appetite for fresh seafood is threatening the stocks of many of our native species in the UK.
These Cornish waters are famous for example for lobster,
especially here in Padstow, Cornwall's culinary capital.
However, lobster numbers started to dwindle 20 years ago, so I'm meeting Dominic Boothroyd,
from the National Lobster Hatchery, to find out how they're trying to keep numbers up.
The fishermen here, how much lobster fishing do they do?
There's a lot of boats fishing from Padstow.
Around Cornwall as a whole, the lobster fisheries are probably worth about £2 million.
-At first sale, so it's a very important part of our economy.
Do we eat those, or do they go abroad? Where do they go?
Probably about 80% of those go abroad, to France, Spain, Italy.
Cor, that's amazing. So we're doing preventative work, we're sewing up the net before it gets too torn.
The idea is that we operate a stock enhancement programme, so we're adding stock into the fishery.
How does the restocking work? What's the first stage?
Basically, what we do is we get a female lobster from the fisherman which has got eggs on it.
We then take that into the hatchery.
When the eggs hatch, we then raise the larvae through their larval stages,
which is their most vulnerable stage in the wild...
-And that's at the hatchery.
-That's in the hatchery.
-Can we see that?
-Yeah, come this way.
This hatchery aims to see the lobster larvae through their first fragile three months.
And it all starts here with egg-laden females,
which for nine months can carry as many as 12,000 eggs.
So this is quite a young female.
Just open her up, and, see, those are the eggs.
-Ah, those, like berries.
-They're very close to hatching.
So you come down in the morning, and the place is swimming with little baby lobsters.
There'll be up to two or three thousand larvae in here in the morning.
Dom and his team them transfer them into the larval rearing room, rather like a lobster nursery, next door.
So here's some you prepared earlier.
Yeah, these are larvae which have hatched this morning.
What's with the kind of dishwasher effect? Why are they being spun round?
Well, we're trying to recreate an ocean environment in a small volume of water.
So we've got 80 litres of water in here and we're trying to create
a planktonic environment, so huge volumes that you'd find in the sea.
-It's to keep them separated out as well, cos they're very, very cannibalistic.
-So they'd eat each other.
Once they're at this stage in the sea, the lobsters would dig a home
in the seabed, but in the hatchery, they're given their own little cell.
-Can we get one out?
-So these are, how old are these ones?
-This is about nine months old.
-Nine months! It's tiny!
They've got a very slow growth rate.
Wow. Do they bite?
-We'll find out, shall we?
-Can we release some of these?
Let's take some of these to the beach, then.
I suppose it's very satisfying, so you must love your job.
Can I ask, do you eat lobster?
Yes, I do.
So the time has come to say goodbye
to 70 of the 12,000 little lobsters the hatchery has reared this year.
In the wild, only around five in every thousand lobsters would make it to adulthood,
but the hatchery gives them up to an 80% better chance of survival.
We're releasing them in a sheltered rocky bay near Padstow.
So at nine months, it's eldest first.
I feel quite, quite trepidatious, cos that's a whole new life for him.
Shall we go? Lenny the lobster, swim!
-Do you want to release the rest of them?
-These are all about a month old.
Oh, that was successful.
70 lobsters, free for... for the future!
-It's fantastic, isn't it?
-Six years later, you could eat it.
-Theoretically. Thank you so much, it's been really fascinating. And what a lovely place to end.
Better go and find some houses now.
As the sun sets,
Marion and Nick reflect on the houses they've seen so far.
So, what did you think of today?
Ah! It's been an interesting - if windswept and wet - day.
And very tiring day!
Converted barns, what did you think?
Beautiful from the outside.
Absolutely, I was really hoping they were going to hit the mark
and in pretty much every way, they did.
It's the lifestyle place which we actually really want.
Just not quite big enough.
-It's one or two rooms short.
-And although they've done really nice things with the land,
there's not quite enough of it for the kinds of things we want.
So, the Grade II listed, what do you think of that one?
Full of surprises.
When we first went there,
I was thinking very, very standard, Victorian box,
but really they had a few things up their sleeves for us, didn't they?
-That really did show us a lot more than we expected.
-The annexe, that was the key -
-without that, there wouldn't be a chance.
-It was beautiful.
The rest of the house, if it was done up at that level, which we would do,
-I think would be tremendous.
Possibilities, I think.
-You know what's going to be different about tomorrow morning, don't you?
I've really enjoyed today, but I've got a feeling
they're going to spring a couple of big surprises on us tomorrow.
I think they will. Hmm, very exciting.
Newlyweds Nick and Marion are kissing goodbye to the busy streets of Brixton
for their dream of running a B&B in Cornwall.
But with a budget that must not break £650,000,
and a mother-in-law to accommodate too, they've set us a real challenge.
So far they've seen two rain-soaked properties, but coming up, the sun begins to shine.
It seems absolutely right!
And a warm glow fills our house-hunters.
You are kidding. You're kidding!
You're making us very, very happy today.
I have to say I was pretty pleased with the way the property search went yesterday.
The properties I showed Marion and Nick did require them to think outside the box,
and they came up trumps - they were very imaginative about what they could do with the space -
and so I'm hoping that today, with the addition of beautiful Cornish weather,
things are going to go swimmingly well.
For our first property of the day,
we're heading to the small hamlet of St Martin.
It's in a lovely rural spot,
with far-reaching views of the Cornish countryside.
Just four miles away, Nick and Marion's guests could take a trip
to visit the beautiful fishing village of Looe.
Lying on Cornwall's south coast, a seven-arched bridge connects east and west Looe.
Fishing boats bob around its pretty harbour, and a large sandy beach,
popular with families, stretches along the sea front.
Take a look at this.
-Now, in the pouring rain, you were very brave yesterday, but I think you're going to...
Your head's going to fall off with excitement at this one.
-It is absolutely stunning, isn't it?
-I was going to say exactly the same thing. It's fantastic, isn't it?
-So it's a great location for a B&B and it is a B&B.
-This is a fully functional B&B.
You could move in on Saturday and be serving guests breakfast on Monday.
-Brilliant, that's the kind of thing we're looking for.
Now, they raise alpacas...
-We've seen them, they're so beautiful.
-You've seen them in your field.
-Cos these two acres...
-Down and then up again.
-Two paddocks and a bit of... a bit of woodland.
Always wanted a bit of woodland.
-But it's just perfect for what you want, I think. So let's have a look.
Not only is the sun smiling today but so are our buyers,
and I've got a feeling their smiles are going to grow when they see inside.
Now, this is what B&B's all about.
-Oh, my word, look at that.
-Isn't that great? So welcoming.
-Oh, wow. That flooring.
All your little leaflets. Let me show you the first guest room, to show you the quality of this B&B.
-Oh, wow, look at that!
There's four letting rooms which sleeps altogether ten people, so here, for example you've got
-a double and a single, but each room is sort of themed, so this is the seaside room.
-But just look at the quality, look how deep the walls are.
-Wow, they are...
-These beautiful sills.
And every room has an en-suite.
-And everything in the B&B rooms comes in the price.
-Oh, good Lord, that's interesting.
-So you literally could start having people in...
Turnkey operation. Loving it!
It's going to be a very short house tour - you're just going to go,
-"I love it, I love it, I love it."
-Feet on the ground.
-Feet on the ground, OK.
-As I say, it's all set up,
so we go into the kitchenette, so people can make tea.
-Feel at home.
-Look at the view! I'd be making tea all the time!
And then you come here into the guest dining room.
-How sweet is this!
-And this goes through into another suite, so you've got another bedroom with another en-suite, double.
-How old is this place, actually? Look at these beams.
-So, yes, a lot of this is restored.
-This would probably have been put in place during the renovation, actually.
As would have all the flooring, but the property's probably largely Victorian.
Although, when they were renovating it, the remains of a 13th-century mill.
-Oh, OK. At this stage, I mean it seems absolutely right.
-Yeah, it's stunningly beautiful.
The B&B side of the property's scoring on all fronts, and the luxurious guest rooms continue
in the adjoining former hayloft and the detached ex-piggery, complete with boar-themed bathroom.
So with the guests happily catered for,
it's time to head upstairs to see Nick, Marion and Julie's living quarters.
Because the house is on a slope, the first floor can be accessed from ground level in the back garden.
Now, the kitchen.
-Oh, a double wow, that's good!
-Look at this!
So it's a sweet little, it's not huge, but it's got lots of lovely features,
easy-wipe surfaces, nice hand-painted units, an island...
Yeah, absolutely, I love islands.
They've got everything, and then you've got a laundry room and everything, so all very compact.
-Is this adequate for your needs, then?
-Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I can cook in this one.
But what I really want to show you, get ready for this, is your living space.
Hold onto your hats, I think you're going to like this.
-Look at this place!
-It is stunningly beautiful, isn't it?
An impressive living space, isn't it? It is stunningly beautiful.
-You've got this wonderful floor, which is warm underfoot.
And all the original beams, but light coming in from every corner through these big thick walls.
Oh, and the exposed walls, look at that.
And the exposed details of the stonework underneath.
And the thing is that you can go down this staircase straight into your B&B.
-So that's the door.
-Aha, I saw the door at the bottom. Brilliant, that's where it comes out.
Just off the living room are two bedrooms, both en-suite,
the smallest of which, I think, would be perfect for Julie.
But I'm taking them to the second and larger bedroom on the other side of the living room.
-And this could be your room.
-It's just beautiful, isn't it? Wow.
-Look at this.
-Look at that, it's so light.
-Look at those wardrobes.
-You've got lots and lots of storage, and a lovely en-suite, a shower room.
It's a beautiful room.
-I get the impression you hate it...
-Absolutely loathe it, I'm not going back for love or money.
-I don't ever want to leave.
-It's pretty good. When we saw this, it was wow, they're going to love this.
-You've done well.
-You'd be right.
-Well, there's a little bit more to see, cos we haven't seen everything outside, so let's do that.
Fantastic stuff, they're loving this property.
Let's hope that the outside space will seal the deal.
Right, more land.
-More land. Wow.
-Look at this.
-So this is open to the guests at the moment, and then that's your private bit down there.
You've also got a nice shed, which could work as your office.
A studio as well.
Or a studio.
-Now I would like to point out the hot tub.
Oh, I was thinking, look at that!
-With the amazing views!
-A hot tub with a view.
-A hot tub with a view, that's what you want.
-That's not all.
Oh, my God, what?
-Because as well as this land here, you own two more acres...
-Of pasture, up there.
-Oh, my God.
-So it could be your tent and breakfast.
-Or indeed yurt and breakfast wonderland.
-That is unexpected.
-So this property comes with five acres.
-Oh. That's more than we wanted, but I'll take it!
-I'll take that!
What do you think it costs?
Ooh, now you're asking.
-Considering what else we've seen, 625, 630.
Something like that.
-Yeah, something like that.
I think you're being extremely...
-I'm being kind.
-There you go.
-This property is on the market for 595.
-You are kidding.
You're making us very, very happy today!
-That is ridiculous.
I'm not going to ask why.
-That is amazing.
-It is amazing, actually.
It's an amazing price for what you're looking for.
-That's just ridiculous.
-It's a fully functioning B&B business.
-And a beautiful view.
-And a hot tub!
-Have a stroll around,
-and I'll see you at the front.
-See you there.
Wow, this B&B hits the mark in every way, shape and form.
At £595,000, it's under budget and fully operational.
There are four luxurious bed and breakfast rooms, and all are en-suite.
And there's a further two bedrooms on either side of an incredibly high-spec living/dining room.
Outside, there are five acres of land, with phenomenal rural views.
It couldn't be a better fit.
-Look at this.
-This is amazing.
-Perfect yurt land.
Perfect yurt land and, you know, have a little festival on there perhaps.
-Yeah! What an amazing, amazing, amazing place.
First impressions? Bowled over.
Bowled over, absolutely.
Properly speechless actually, and I still am.
It's the most amazing house I think I've ever seen.
It's so beautiful.
There's just nothing about it that I haven't fallen in love with.
To find it available at £595,000 is beyond my expectations, I mean hugely.
I just, I am blown away, actually.
I know, it's just so peaceful and beautiful.
It's one of the most beautiful barn conversions I've ever seen.
-I could live here.
-Oh, I think let's rephrase that - we're going to live here.
I think something might be afoot, dear viewer, because they've been gone absolutely hours,
-and the owners have come back, and they've gone into a sort of huddle, and now here they are!
-What's happened? You've been gone hours and you're grinning like lunatics.
Um, something unexpected sort of happened really, didn't it?
-Mum hot-footed it down here, loved it as well,
we just spoke to the owners, and...
-And put in an offer.
-Put in an offer?
-And it's been accepted!
-It's been accepted.
-Oh, my God!
We are meant to live here!
That's weird! That's never happened on this show -
you've actually bought the house, and we haven't even left it yet.
Aw, congratulations. Well done, you.
Thank you very much, thank you.
Bravo! Aw. Aw.
Top marks for grasping the nettle, that's fantastic.
Yeah, when things are meant to be, you've got to make them happen.
Yeah, absolutely. This place was meant to be.
I think that's a first on the show.
We've never actually sold one on air. That's amazing.
Well, I don't quite know what to do.
We should, we've got other houses to show you, but...
-Well, we could buy two.
Ah, no, we can't, we won't want to!
Let's go for a stroll, shall we, let's clear the head.
Well, I may be strolling, but Nick and Marion are positively skipping with excitement.
After all, they've made Escape To The Country history
and put an offer on the house of their dreams on the spot.
Now they've found their picture-perfect B&B,
they still have those five acres to fill.
Not difficult when part of your dream
is to run a yurt and breakfast too.
These sturdy structures have housed nomads throughout central Asia
since the 12th century
and were designed to be dismantled quickly to allow them to flee
from raiders like Ghengis Khan.
But they're now increasingly to be found dotted around the English countryside.
Marion and Nick are meeting Tim Hutton,
who runs a yurt campsite to find out more.
I understand you're interested in seeing how a yurt is put together.
-We know nothing about it, so...
Everything hinges on the door which the wooden frame of the yurt is then stretched around and tied to.
Traditional Mongolian yurts are usually made from larch and willow,
but in this country, ash is a great sustainable option.
Great, so that's the basic structure.
A tent band is then wrapped around the outside of the frame,
which holds the wall in place.
Next up, it's time to raise the roof.
The central wheel acts as a vent for the fire smoke to escape through.
Once all the poles have been fixed and tied off...
-So, you finished with that one?
-Great, we done?
The next stage is to insulate and cover the yurt.
Traditionally covered with up to five layers of felt, we're using heavy cotton canvas.
It only takes around an hour to erect the yurt,
and now it's time to step inside and learn the house rules.
There's a certain etiquette and certain positionings when it comes to the layout of the yurt
and the way that people behave.
Traditionally, the door would always be facing south, and you'd walk into the yurt...
generally move in a clockwise position around the stove, which would be in the centre.
Perhaps the yurt and breakfast idea could give Nick and Marion's holiday retreat an appealing edge.
Even if their offer on the last B&B we saw has been accepted.
We need to at least show them the mystery property.
After all, in an ever-changing market, anything could happen.
So we're off to see the mystery house - what do you think that might involve, then?
Well, we were talking about this last night and we, you know, really have absolutely no idea.
-One of the things that we considered that it might be a lot less expensive,
that it might be a real project that we could stamp our own character on.
Mm, and something that would be cheap enough
-that we wouldn't necessarily need an income straightaway from the B&B.
And how do you feel about a big project?
Depend how big, probably.
I think we're open to any possibilities, right?
We have to stay open to any possibility.
The mystery house is hidden away in the countryside of St Clether, five miles from Cornwall's north coast.
This is a very rural landscape, ideal for the ultra-rustic retreat
that Nick and Marion are seeking to create.
And that means plenty of space for those yurts, too.
It's time for the mystery house!
-As you can see, maybe a little bit of work needed here.
-A slight bit!
-Just a smidgen.
What we've got is three barns.
-These are like gold dust, really.
It sits in a hundred acres of land.
-From which you can cherry pick whatever you want.
-We'll talk about all that a bit later, but it's essentially these three buildings, barn number one...
-The big one.
-Barn number two...
-And barn number three.
-I can see that, yeah.
All of them have got fully OK'd residential planning permission.
-Which is also very unusual for agricultural buildings round here.
So, essentially, you could turn all of them into residences.
-I can see where we could go with this.
-I can see enough room, I can see enough space and I can see a glorious location.
I think it has huge amounts of potential, although we might be
living in a caravan for some time if we chose this one.
Could be one of the little delights of this.
Let's take a look at them one by one.
I really hope that they have the imagination to see the potential of the wonderful spaces on offer here.
First up is the smallest of the three barns.
This one could be turned into a single-storey one-bed with an en-suite.
Now, this used to be the garage, well, still was - all these were used up to last year.
I've got the plans here, so I'll put them down here, you can refer to them as I point.
-This end will have a living room, a kitchen, and they're going to build out the bathroom here.
-And also a little porch, so you'll have a front door.
-It's actually quite a sizeable space.
-I was thinking it might be a nice place for Julie.
Queen of all she surveys.
So that's Julie catered for. What about Nick and Marion?
-Right, now this is a much more exciting proposition.
Can I just point out these magnificent granite pillars?
-They're amazing, aren't they?
-I've never seen that on an agricultural building.
This breaks up into two parts.
There's this big old what was the carriage shed and that's going to be the kitchen and living room here.
-And all of this is going to be glass behind these pillars.
With a little imagination and the right architect,
this derelict shed could be turned into a monument of contemporary living, with a spectacular glazed
open-planned living space, complete with all the mod cons.
This could be a dream home for Marion and Nick.
-So effectively it would be a two-bedroom house.
So the idea is that Julie lives up here and you live down here.
-That would work.
There's a lot for Marion and Nick to get their heads around here, but before they made any decisions,
there are guests to think of and there's plenty of space for them.
And this is the grand idea, this is the really chunky conversion,
cos this has got plans for four bedrooms. Ta-da!
Wow, it's huge.
So you can see here, you'd go in, and there'd be a utility room and a kitchen/diner at the back.
-And upstairs, your master suite.
-Wow, that'd be spectacular, wouldn't it?
-Very good. And they'd keep these lovely steps up.
-Which is just fabulous.
-Do you want to look inside and see what the state it's in?
-Mind the mice.
-It's quite nice to look inside, actually.
I think that barns are pretty atmospheric, even when they're not done up.
-They are. Good party places when they're still barns.
You might want to clean them a little bit.
This project is a developer's dream and has so much potential.
We're in the kitchen, next to what would be the grand atrium forming the living area,
and at the back of the downstairs, there's space for the study, which could also be a fourth bedroom.
Upstairs, there are plans for three bedrooms, all en-suite.
Mm. I'm glad you're seeing it in this light as well, cos it's absolutely fantastic.
-It's a beautiful day.
This is the back of your... of your huge barn conversion.
-It was the bull house, rather excitingly.
And this would all be one living room, right up to, to the trusses.
-And this would all be terraced.
Because that's west, and that's south, so this would just be a golden bowl of light all day long.
-I'm selling it to you, aren't I?
-I can see, I'm hypnotising you like a mongoose.
I know you've found the house of your dreams, but this is interesting.
How much is this all going to cost to do?
Let's start first with the plot of land and the ruins, the barns as they are now.
No extra land, no price of conversion, just what you would pay the vendor now.
Somewhere between 100 and £150,000.
I think a lot more than that, actually.
-I think you're looking at 250 to 290.
Yeah, as I said, I have no concept of how much this would go for.
-Can I just say something?
-You're right, it is
-quite a bit more than both of you thought.
For the first two, you've been very good, but this is a very strange kind of set-up.
Yes, that's why I've got no sort of concept.
So this, these three barns and just the land they're on is on the market for £430,000.
-And then extra land...
Land round here goes about £5,000 an acre, so to get your two acres,
you'd have to say another £10,000, so that brings us up to 440.
-And then there's renovating.
-Any idea of those costs?
-You don't need to renovate!
-You could live here like this!
So, yes, the renovation costs are also quite substantial.
You could renovate it bit by bit, £40,000 for the small one, £100,000
for the middle one, and £220,000, so the total build all told
-would be about £800,000.
-That's an extraordinary amount of money.
The mystery house is always there to kind of pull focus for you to think, "Ooh, gosh, shake things up a bit."
And if nothing else, it's proved to you what a good deal
-the up-and-running B&B barn conversion was.
-Absolutely. And now even more how happy we are with it.
Well, it was worth a shot, but clearly this project is not for them.
The barns come in at £430,000, and with two acres of extra land
and renovation costs taking it up to £800,000, it's a pretty penny or two.
But that's the price you pay for such a unique opportunity.
There's planning consent to create a one-bed, a two-bed and a four-bed property.
And there are large amounts of pasture land available to purchase separately.
It'd be interesting to tackle a project from start to finish,
blank canvas, but much as I would love to take something like this on, it's not the right time yet.
It does one thing here that none of the others
actually did, which was provide totally separate space for us, the guests and my mum.
So I can see why you brought us here, and it's
just really reconfirmed just how amazing the other place was for us.
-Just too much of a project, and we've already found our dream home, haven't we?
Rarely has there been less suspense at the decision at the end of the show,
because I don't recall ever one of the houses being bought by...
the couple on the show. So you have broken new ground. Congratulations.
-Thank you very much.
I would be very interested to hear about the process that we went through to get where we got to.
Very first property I showed you was two properties, in fact.
What are your thoughts about that conversion?
Initially, I think we both looked at it and thought "Great." It was, it looked beautiful.
Yeah, it was pretty as a picture from the outside.
It appeared to have enough space.
On reflection, as we were walking around we were thinking there was
going to be a lot to be done to kind of make it fit our purposes.
-And I think the land wasn't really what we were looking for, really, was it?
How about the Victorian house near Newquay?
We started that one less enthusiastic,
probably would be fair to say.
Yes, it was the reverse of the first one. Initially you walk in,
and there's a couple of square rooms and you think, hmm,
there's not much here to excite me, but it did reveal itself bit by bit
to be greater than the sum of its parts.
And it still wasn't a natural fit, but it could have been adapted.
It definitely had potential for adaptation with the cellar,
and the annexe would have been perfect for Julie.
Tell me about the guest house.
Where do we start?
It was before we even walked round and saw it, it just felt like home.
-The guest rooms are presented so well.
-It was perfect for our purposes
without us having to do anything in order to make it fit us -
it just felt like we kind of belonged there.
So many selling points to it, so many USPs.
Well, before we come back to, to enjoying that more, let us cast a little thought on the mystery house.
It was an interesting property in all sorts of ways.
It was interesting - it's kind of like the entirely opposite, really.
Great for someone who's got the time, the energy,
the patience and the know-how to do a project like that.
Maybe not just now, I think we realised when we saw it -
the amount of the work that would have to be done and the energy that would have to be invested in it.
I'm delighted that I was showing you round the properties and that you found the one that you
-want so profoundly and acted on it, because you know, those two things don't often come together.
We're absolutely delighted as well,
and thanks to everyone involved, really - it's been wonderful.
It has, it's been a brilliant experience, and then to find
the house of our dreams and it all work out like that is just perfect.
You're all very welcome at our party.
-Well, we'll turn up, because you are unique and original on our show, so here's to that.
I don't mean to crow, but we sold a house right there and then
on the spot, and I don't think we've ever done that before on the show, it's quite extraordinary,
so we're quite pleased at the way our adventures in Cornwall turned out.
And if you've been inspired by Marion and Nick's amazing house-buying fun,
then do 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...
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Alistair Appleton helps a couple who plan to move to Cornwall to start a B&B business with a budget of £650,000. They would like a property with a minimum of six bedrooms in an idyllic setting with plenty of land and outbuildings.