Browse content similar to East Sussex. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Roses are red, violets are blue... That's rubbish. I actually came here for inspiration
as this pretty little cottage isn't just typical of the property to be found in this county,
but is also where celebrated essayist and novelist Virginia Woolf lived.
She came here from London looking for serenity and stimulation.
Let's hope today's potential house buyers make it their escape to the country.
In today's show we'll be helping a couple from Wimbledon escape the suburbs for countryside living.
-Not a cappuccino in sight.
-We'll view some fantastic properties but will they be able to agree?
-You can say, "Yes, dear."
And today's mystery house is nothing short of divine inspiration.
Look at that! Fantastic.
Today I'm in East Sussex at Monk's House to be specific.
This is where Virginia Woolf lived.
She was part of the celebrated Bloomsbury Set of artists and writers
who famously shunned Victorian convention to live a more bohemian lifestyle in the South Downs.
East Sussex has always been a county that provides inspiration and tranquillity in equal measure.
Bordered by West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the English Channel,
East Sussex is home to 692 square miles of wildly varying countryside
which take in the clay valleys of the Weald that stretch down to Hastings
and the stunning chalk escarpment of the South Downs, plus 46 miles of beautiful coastline.
History isn't in short supply either. The Saxon county town of Lewes is not only famed
for its raucous annual Guy Fawkes celebrations, but the best-preserved castle barbican in England.
If the upkeep of a castle isn't what you have in mind,
there's plenty of property on offer with a vast array of architectural styles to choose from.
Whether you're partial to a bit of weather boarding or the typical Sussex half-hung tiled house,
this county is chock full of character country homes.
Despite the fact that the East Sussex coastline is only an hour's train ride from London,
property here is almost 7% cheaper than in neighbouring West Sussex
and a whopping 34% less than in fellow commuter county Surrey,
but I don't want you to think property here is a snip. It isn't.
It's almost 31% above national average, but in this current climate
bargain hunter should seek because they will find. The gems are out there.
If you'd won the Lottery, how about this £1.4 million seven-bedroom country house just outside Wadhurst?
With four reception rooms, it's fit for a king and the oak panelling feels like you stepped back in time
to soak up the sun in the glorious 2.75-acre gardens.
If you want to spend a little less, for £659,000 you could snap up this Grade 2-listed place in Heath Marsh.
This is a great entertaining pad with a contemporary kitchen complete with limestone floors,
a double-aspect lounge diner and mature gardens for those summer parties.
Or for a real steal, at £400,000, how about this four-bedroom smuggler's cottage in Selsey?
Just a stone's throw from the coast, it comes complete with two reception rooms, a 25-foot galley kitchen
and a really pretty lawned garden.
With property relatively expensive in East Sussex,
people wanting to buy here will either have to have plenty of money or the ability to compromise.
Let's hope our potential homebuyers have both.
Today's couple looking for an urban escape route are Matthew and Catherine.
They've lived in this three-bedroom semi in Wimbledon for 17 years
-with Maggie, their Border terrier.
-I bought the house in 1992
for what was then a lot of money, £106,000. And now most houses around here
are going for about £400,000 plus.
There's nothing wrong with the house, but we need more space.
I can't see us living here in our dotage. We want to move to the country and now is the best time.
As Matthew has owned the house since his bachelor days, this will be their first purchase together.
I love it here, but this is in some ways Matthew's house.
We have done a lot of work to it, but what would be really exciting
is having met later on in life and got married later, choosing something together.
After abandoning their initial search in London due to excessive property prices,
they've decided to move to Sussex, but their search has run out of steam.
We've seen literally hundreds of houses and we look and it gets to a point
where you can't see for looking. It all begins to look the same.
So what do Matthew and Catherine want for their money?
-Our ideal home in the country will be a three-bedroomed house...
-..with a kitchen/diner...
Somewhere where we can get in and out of London quickly
-and it'll be a home...
-..where we spend the rest of our lives.
We've got a really fantastic kitchen area here. I really enjoy cooking and entertaining for friends.
Whatever we find out in the country, it will be quite important to recreate this environment again.
Currently this is our spare bedroom, which doubles as Catherine's office.
Because we want to entertain more and want people to visit us,
it's more essential that we have at least one or two guest bedrooms.
But it's not just bricks and mortar that will make them buy.
We've got a lovely courtyard garden here, but it is actually quite small and it's getting quite full.
So by moving to the country we'll be able to get a large garden
and I can indulge my passion for gardening and horticulture.
That's a sizeable wish list, so how are they financing this?
We're going to rent out the property here in London and through savings and getting past reserves together,
we've got a budget of £550,000.
I've got the feeling this is going to be a rather romantic house hunt
with Matthew and Catherine looking for their first together home. Money's not really an issue.
They've got their life savings for this dream property - if they can find it.
Even thought they haven't found anything in 8 months of looking,
I have confidence that some of the villages between Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne will deliver.
With both Matthew and Catherine working, it's crucial they are closer to larger towns
with road and rail links to London. We'll check out some great character homes,
but I won't reveal the price tags until they've looked around.
Then just to mix things up a little, there's the mystery house.
Matthew, Catherine, welcome to East Sussex, where they tell me the mornings are always this glorious.
-Fantastic. Isn't it gorgeous?
-Not a bad day for looking at property.
You've been looking for 8 months. Have you looked in this area?
Not as such. I've looked on the internet, but we haven't visited any properties.
-We looked closer to home.
-Yeah, closer to London, but with the way that work is panning out,
my job between Eastbourne and London and Catherine in the south-east,
it makes more and more sense and East Sussex was a favourite county to have a look at.
Let's talk about the budget. 550. Can I push you on that?
-I'm saying this and Catherine will probably kick me...
-I control the budget.
-There you are right there!
-I've got the purse strings.
-If we saw somewhere we really wanted, we would push the budget.
I think 550, 580, around that figure.
-How committed are you to this move?
-If we find the right house,
-see the right house, we'll move.
-Guess what! I'm going to show you the right house! I'm very confident.
-We're trusting you.
-Shall we get on with it? I'll lead you to the car.
So for their top budget of £580,000, Matthew and Catherine are looking for three to four bedrooms,
a big kitchen/diner for entertaining,
a couple of reception rooms and a big garden where Catherine can get all green-fingered.
-So are either of you from a country background?
-No, I'm a town boy
-and you've been suburb-y.
-My aunt lived in the country.
We used to go down a lot as kids. So we're not complete townies!
-You've also got the dog, of course.
-Is that a consideration also?
-More room to roam?
-I think so.
It's part and parcel of having animals. We might expand, get a few chickens, ducks.
-I've been thinking about it
-The worry on your face now!
'That really has got Matthew concerned. Time to get started!
'So we're heading to the north-west of the county to Colemans Hatch.
'If it's a countryside escape they want, this takes some beating.
'It's right in the heart of the High Weald and Ashdown Forest is just five minutes away.
'The nearby village of Forest Row has a good smattering of eateries and shops close at hand.
'Our first property is a real rural retreat. It's a 17th-century former forester's cottage.
'With three bedrooms, it has all the space they've asked for, but it needs some work and imagination.
'Will they be up for it, though?'
-The original property dates back 400 years and the current owners renovated it in 1994.
-It's not 100% renovated.
-But a work in progress.
-You want to get inside.
-I do, darling.
-Come on, then.
'High on Catherine's list of criteria is a big open-plan kitchen/diner.
'Although not currently used as a kitchen, this room could be transformed
'into the kitchen of her dreams.'
Do come through to what would be your kitchen diner?
-What a fabulous room.
-You could really do something with this.
It's not what I was expecting, but they've kept it sympathetically.
-We're in the old part of the building.
-You feel it.
-You can. It's 400 years old.
And it's got a wood-burning stove. Fantastic.
-Great for entertaining.
-You could make this a very warm room.
-The owners have planning permission to change it a little bit.
We could lift this roof so it is the same height as the rest of the building, for double the space.
Well, that's great. That's all good potential stuff, actually.
I'm not sure, if it was for us, whether we'd need all that space up there.
-I like this room as it is.
-That's the first disagreement.
-No, we won't have a disagreement. It's a beautiful room.
An absolutely beautiful room.
'There's already a utility room right next door. Although taking on a project wasn't originally
'part of their plans, I'm glad to see they're open to the potential.
-'Let's hope the sitting room gets as positive a response.'
-I like a fire in the sitting room,
-but it's quiet and cosy. That's fine.
-You like entertaining people.
-Would this be a problem here?
No, I don't think so at all. Technology being what it is, things like flat-screen TVs can go up
-and you can get enough chairs and settees or sofas in here.
-It's cosy. It's got a nice aspect.
'Also on this floor is the smallest of the three bedrooms, but it's still big enough for a double bed
'and there are great views across the countryside. Right next door is a family bathroom.
'The last two bedrooms are upstairs.'
-So this is your very bright second bedroom.
-It's very sweet.
-This is perfectly good as a second bedroom.
-It's quite small, but it's doable.
-Maybe apart from a lick of paint, unless you really like pink, you wouldn't have to do anything.
-Well, a bit of technology, but apart from that it's fine.
-How do you put up this technology chat?
-I ignore it.
-Shall I do that now?
-Shall I show you the master bedroom?
-You're my last hope!
-You need to watch the technology.
-All right, OK.
-This is lovely.
-A lot bigger than I thought.
Triple aspect. Come over here.
-You're in the middle of the forest.
-Look at that view.
-It's very lovely.
-Not a cappuccino in sight.
-And if you poke your head through that door...
-Right. Have a quick look.
-That's your en suite bathroom.
-Oh, wow. That's OK.
-It's an added bonus, definitely.
-So you've seen the forester's cottage.
The only thing is we've asked for office space, so I don't know if there's something here
-that would actually work for that as well, too.
-I'll show you that.
-'As if we'd forget that all-important office space. Out in the garden,
'included in the sale price are two brick outbuildings, both with electricity.
'Again, they need work, but with some TLC, they could end up with an office each.
'And when Catherine's had enough of work, there's plenty to do in the 1.5-acre garden.'
-What do you think it's worth?
-I think it's worth about... 550, 560.
Well, you're normally very good at this, so I'll take your lead,
but I think given the location and an awful lot of house and land,
-I'd pitch it a little bit higher and go 575, 580. Something like that.
-You're very good, both of you.
-The current owners want offers in excess of 570.
How do you feel about the property now that you know that?
For us, we would probably want to develop it, so there's more cost.
Clearly, where we are there's a lot of maintenance involved as well.
Well, now you know how much you're going to have to spend,
have another look around and see what you'd change or wouldn't change, now you know.
-And I'll come get you.
That went well, didn't it? I think it went well, anyway.
I got the impression that Matthew loved it. Catherine wasn't too sure,
but now I think they both like it. I can imagine them living here.
Hope they invite me to the party!
With an asking price of £570,000, this three-bedroom character cottage is £10,000 under their top budget,
leaving Matthew and Catherine plenty of spare change to take on some of that renovation work,
creating the dream kitchen and transforming outbuildings to offices.
For a couple who didn't want a project, I'm really glad they see the potential.
I'm really up for it. I love it. I think the potential to develop it is what excites me.
But it will come at a cost.
You need to extend the roof, you need to extend the bedroom and you'll need to build an office.
-So that's four major...
-..building projects, isn't it?
It's like the secret house in the wood. So I think it's got a great feel about it,
but I think maybe on the sleeping side, the rooms are quite small.
You'd have to be creative how you use them.
-Good second viewing?
-Yeah, actually. It's having a look at what you could do with that extension.
-That's the key, I think, to this.
-Well, there's plenty more to see.
-I was happy where we were.
It's always advisable to check out an area before you buy,
so Matthew and Catherine are taking an opportunity to delve a little deeper into East Sussex,
starting with a little history in the coastal town of Pevensey.
Pevensey Castle was built by the Romans in 250AD.
It's seen its fair share of conflict over the years.
I know William the Conqueror was here. It's the first place he came.
-Your history is quite good.
-It pays to be informed, darling.
-And it was a lookout in the Second World War.
-For the planes coming over.
Just five miles down the coast is the Victorian seaside resort of Eastbourne.
The main attraction is the four miles of beach with its esplanade and pier and endless sea views.
It's all here in one county. You've got the seaside here, lovely.
A few miles up the road you've got lovely country villages.
-You can go swimming in the sea.
-It's all on your doorstep.
-It's certainly food for thought.
The coastal path provides prime rambling territory.
-It's a fantastic view up here.
-Oh, yeah, absolutely.
-A great place to walk Maggie.
-Everything a dog could want.
-Better than the gym.
-Yep. Imagine the speed the dog would get going down this hill!
They are keen to integrate themselves into the community
and the county town of Lewes would be a good place to start. They're meeting the East Sussex Singers,
a choral group that meets once a week.
Welcome to Lewes. I'm Lee Reynolds, director of the New Sussex Singers.
We're a chamber choir in Lewes and we're about to have a rehearsal for Jerusalem,
-so if you'd like to come and join us. I hear you're a singer.
-Well...a matter of opinion.
-Are you a singer as well?
-Not at all. A good listener!
-We've got a few pews! Do you want to come and join us?
# And did those feet in ancient time
# Walk upon England's mountain green?
# And was the holy Lamb of God
# On England's pleasant pastures seen? #
Let's hope the harmony continues when it comes to finding their dream home.
'For our next property, we're heading just over the East Sussex Border into Kent
'to the outskirts of Lamberhurst, a quiet rural village six miles east of Tunbridge Wells.
'There's an abundance of character houses here, including some original Tudor buildings
'and the ubiquitous tile-hung properties the county's famed for.
'There's also the usual gamut of local amenities.
'We're viewing this five-bedroom traditional brick and tile cottage.
'Matthew and Catherine want easy access to London and this house is just off the main road. Too close?'
-What do you think?
-It's nice enough. Very close to that road.
-Too close, you reckon?
-Quite noisy, first impressions.
-There's going to be a bypass, so the road will move
at least 70 metres away from the property. So that's a good thing.
-You won't hear the traffic as much.
-Shall we have a look?
-Let's have a look.
'Not a bad start. I'm sure once they see the inside of this house, that road will be forgotten.'
-This is the boot room.
-Very useful. Good size as well.
-Come on through to the hallway.
-It's quite open.
-Lots of original features - the beams, the floor.
-Certainly when you get inside it's a much better feel.
-Yeah. If I close this door...
-Yeah, you cut down the noise.
-Can you hear cars?
No, no, you can't. You're absolutely right.
Three big rooms off this hallway. Sitting room first.
Go on. You lead the way.
-So this is the sitting room.
-This is the '70s extension.
It looks slightly more modern.
-Great feature with the fireplace.
-Yes, you've got the log burner.
-I'm not so keen.
-What don't you like?
-I think...because... the aspect, if you like.
You're sort of looking over fields, but for a living room
I would prefer looking over a garden rather than the driveway.
I think you're being too fussy. That's not bad for a view.
-And there's a big plasma.
-What can I say?
'I know Catherine is hankering after an open-plan kitchen/diner and this one will take some beating.
'There's a great mix of character and contemporary features and it has entertaining space all over it.'
-It's a lovely room, isn't it? Quite different from the living room.
You wanted a place to entertain guests. The heart of the home.
-Absolutely. I don't think we could pick any fault with this.
A range cooker, which is fantastic. Those details are absolutely lovely.
-The kitchen has such a nice feel. You would love to be in here.
-You'd spend most of your time here.
'There's a separate utility room and plenty more living space on this ground floor,
'including a family snug room and the all-important study.'
-More beams for you.
-Yeah. It certainly keeps the character of the older part of the property.
-It's a lovely stairway, don't you think?
-Yep. It's very...
-Then here on the landing you've got a double bedroom...
-..double bedroom, single bedroom there...
-Lots of bedrooms.
..and a family bathroom basically only used by these rooms.
-That's good, isn't it?
-It's a good-sized room, isn't it? Nice-sized bathroom.
-Everything you want.
'In total, there are five bedrooms - plenty of room for city visitors.
'Even this guest room has an en suite.'
-And this is the master bedroom.
-Oh, this is lovely.
-Really nice views.
-Tucked around the corner, the en suite. Good storage. Go and have a look.
-It's a nice room.
-Ooh, a wide bath.
-Yeah. What are you trying to say?
-It is nice and bright, though, isn't it?
-No, it is, actually.
-Very, very nice.
-Shall we go downstairs and see outside?
-Yes. That would be lovely.
'While they both seem to like this house, I get the distinct impression that Matthew is easier to please.
'Maybe the garden will convince Catherine. At three-quarters of an acre, it's a good size
'and there's plenty of scope to get horticulturally creative.'
-You've got your double garage as well.
-Very good, isn't it?
-You've got quite a bit of room.
There's a little bit of garden at the back, but this is the main part. Storage space there as well.
-And a lovely view.
-Lovely views. Really nice. Absolutely.
-You can look right over there at those houses.
-As you look out, are you still thinking road?
-Yes, because you can hear it.
-Yes. You can hear it.
Actually, to be fair about the road, if you couldn't hear it, I wouldn't worry about it.
-It's just cos it is so proximate.
-It's a main, busy road.
But that way is fantastic. It's absolutely gorgeous.
-How much do you think it's on the market for?
-It's quite a lot of land.
-A big house inside.
-You're going straight in?
-I think 525.
-No, I think it's more. There's more house there than 525. I'm going to go...
560, something like that.
I can tell you it was originally on the market for £650,000.
-You could tell us that, but...
-It's no longer on the market for 650.
-You're bang on the money.
-So do you think it's worth the money?
-We'd have to talk.
Once that road's sorted out, that's a lovely, lovely property.
-Go and have another look around. Come out when you've had enough.
'There's no getting away from the road, but that's just for now.
'The bypass is scheduled to be completed within two years so long-term it won't be an issue.
'At £525,000, this five-bedroom cottage is a massive £55,000 under their budget.
'They wouldn't need to spend a thing on it. The kitchen is spot-on and there's plenty of living space.'
-This area is very good.
-You've got the cooker.
-Also the extra workspace, which is a key thing for us.
-It's got a bit of character.
-There's enough room in the dining area for a big table.
-A nice size.
-You could get 10, 12 people easily.
It's a nice house from the outside and there's quite a lot of space. Maybe slightly too much for us.
Upstairs you've got five bedrooms, which I think is slightly excessive for us.
Everything on the downstairs is wonderful.
The kitchen/diner area is the best.
And then, going upstairs, all the bedrooms and two en suite bathrooms. Right property, wrong location.
-Listen, no one said that finding a property was easy.
-I've got plenty more.
-Let's get back in the car.
'If they do make the move to East Sussex, a very important member of the family will be joining them -
'Maggie, their Border terrier. As the new dog on the block, she'll need some new tricks
'to impress the local canine community. Although not with us now,
'we've arranged a dog agility lesson with trainer extraordinaire Dean.'
Pleased to meet you. It's a good bit of fun for both you and the dogs
and it's a good way of keeping fit.
Shall we do it? Let's meet the dogs.
I want the little one.
-Catherine, what I'd like you to do is work with Peppa.
Hello. Hello, Peppa.
And Matthew, you're going to be working with Miley today.
Hi. How are you?
-Hold on a second.
-That means I'm working with...
-This is Tia.
Hello, Tia. Why are you bigger than the others?
'Teaching your dog tricks isn't just for show. It's a great way to develop communication and rapport.
'Once they mastered basic commands, there are hundreds of tricks you can train them to perform.'
-Lovely. Very good, very nice.
-'If you know what you are doing.'
-Very good, Aled.
-Lovely, good. Excellent stuff.
-'Matthew and Catherine seem to have this collared.'
-He's done it before!
-Lovely. And collect her at the other end. Super, well done.
'But I'll show them who's top dog around here.'
In you get.
In you get!
'Or maybe not. I'm making a right dog's dinner of this.
'Good exercise for me, though.'
'Trust me to get the Rottweiler!' That's the way you do it!
'Anyway, this is all a bit barking mad for me. Time to call it a day.'
Back to your mummy. Come on.
'With the sun setting over the East Sussex countryside,
'Matthew and Catherine have a chance to mull over today's properties.'
I thought the cottage in Ashdown Forest was unique. I thought it was great.
Apart from anything else, it had such potential. You'll never find a property like that. Very rarely.
It's quite isolated, but apart from that it was quite unique.
-The property on the A21.
-A great family house.
It had a lot of property for what they were asking, price-wise.
Unfortunately for us, it wasn't just the main road. It was the location
and proximity to Eastbourne and commutability to London.
I wouldn't disagree with that. It'll make someone a lovely home.
Matthew and Catherine want to swap their semi in Wimbledon for a big country house in East Sussex.
Luckily, they have a sizeable budget of up to £580,000.
So far, they've viewed two houses and saw the potential in both.
-You could do something with this.
-'And there's plenty more coming up.'
-This has got potential down here.
'And there's the Mystery House, which I'm praying makes the grade.'
It's quite phenomenal.
So it's Day Two in our search to find Matthew and Catherine that dream property in East Sussex.
Yesterday we ascertained that they don't want too large a house,
but they are quite open to the idea of being in a rural location, when I thought they weren't.
This isn't as simple as I thought! Will one of today's properties be the first house they buy together?
Your guess is as good as mine.
'So for the next house we're heading down to the south coast to the outskirts of the town of Battle.
'It was here that in 1066, William the Conqueror defeated Harold.
'To commemorate his win, he ordered the construction of St Martin's Abbey.
'Over the centuries, the town has grown up around this focal point,
'and today includes a main line station with direct links to London.
'With the seaside just seven miles away, it should be ideal for Matthew and Catherine.
'The property we're viewing is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
'The original cottage was built just over 100 years ago, but the current owners have renovated
'and extended it. So 80% of the house is, in fact, new.
'It has four bedrooms and a rather quirky layout over three levels.
'There's plenty of scope to make a few changes.'
Come on in.
-Nice and warm.
-So this is the hallway.
-OK. Nice and bright.
-Lovely little window from the local chapel.
-Let me take you in straight away to the oldest part, the living room.
-Lovely. Nice aspect.
-Oh, I like this. This is nice. There's a nice feel to this.
-Great views as well.
-It's quite deceptive from outside. It looks small.
-It looks tiddly.
But it's much more spacious inside than you would expect.
-Plenty more to show you.
'I'd say we're off to a good start and just next door is a room Matthew might have designs on.'
-A good office...
-Or library or TV room or whatever.
-You're allowed a TV room!
-I thought I'd quietly get it in! I'll start with TV and build up.
-Progress from there.
-This is good. And again fantastic aspect out of the window.
-Let's move on.
-This house is actually built on a hill.
-So lots of little stairs going up and down.
This is the upstairs bedroom, en suite as well, but follow me.
-Oh! More to see.
-Up the spiral staircase.
-A spiral staircase in this room.
-This is a good space.
-I think this has got...
-..written on it.
-Good size. And it's out of the way.
-Exactly. Yeah, exactly.
And, of course, you've got the window and the view yet again.
Come on. Let's go downstairs.
'Well, Matthew's sorted with an office and TV room.
'I think it's time to concentrate on Catherine.'
-We've come down some steps to go up some steps!
-OK. A bit of exercise.
-This could be the family bathroom.
-Basically, this is the master bedroom suite.
-It's currently used as a bedsit, as you can see.
-But a good-sized room.
-No, no, it is a good-sized room. Definitely.
-For a master bedroom. Absolutely.
And it's got the double doors which give you so much more light.
-Underneath is another bedroom.
-Which you only get to from outside.
-There's one room you haven't seen.
-What room would that be?
-It could be the kitchen!
-Are you going to get the kettle on?
-It's a kitchen/diner.
-Oh, is it?
-Possibly a sandwich, then.
This is a good light room, isn't it? This IS a kitchen diner.
-It is, isn't it?
-You've got your range cooker there.
-Heats the house. Is it large enough?
-Yes, it is large enough. This has got potential down here.
-I certainly think that.
The thing is, whatever you do with the downstairs and upstairs space, you've got that incredible view.
And such a beautiful garden by the looks of it.
-Come on. I'll show you it.
-You won't be disappointed. There's plenty of it.
-It's rather windy out here.
'There's seven acres in all, some of which could earn them some pocket money.'
Come on down. 'These fields can be rented out to local farmers for grazing
-'or as horse paddocks and could bring in around £2,000 a year.'
-As well as the field to the back and to the side.
-All that comes as part of the property?
-It certainly does.
-All right, OK.
-Have a think about that.
-These steps are quite slippery.
'And there's more than enough land left over for Catherine to get down and dirty with her veggie garden.
'The only question now, I suppose: is it too much to take on?'
-So a nice little walk.
-Yes. Certainly a lot of land.
Is it a bit too unwieldy? A bit too natural for you, this garden?
-No, it's not. It's a large garden.
-It's a great garden. Fantastic.
-You don't do the gardening.
-I want to be eight years old again, running around in this garden.
-There's so many nooks and...
-No, there are. Crannies.
-I absolutely love it.
-How much do you think the whole thing's worth?
-I'm blown out of the water now. I...
That's still quite a big house there. Four bedrooms in there, plus the fields, seven acres.
-I was going to go so much lower.
I was going to go and say it's about 500...£550,000.
OK. It's on the market for £595,000.
-That's a lot of land and property for 595.
-You looked disappointed, but you're not?
For 595... I was disappointed because I thought it would be 625, just way out of our budget.
-But 595 is out of our budget...
-It is, isn't it?
-Oh, that tone's told me!
-No, no, I think...
It makes sense that it is, with the fields. That it's 595.
-But those fields are yours. Money will be constantly coming in. You don't have to do anything.
-Worth thinking about.
-Go and have a think. I'll catch you later.
Have we just found Catherine and Matthew their first together home?
I'm not quite sure. If it was down to Matthew, I'd say, well, yes.
Catherine, I think the seven acres is probably a little bit too much to take on.
But for a property like this, it's worth digging out that extra money. I think they'd love this place.
'Having been on the market for several months, there will be room for negotiation on that price.
'So this could come in close on budget.
'And what a lot of property to the pound. There's a big kitchen/diner,
'there's 3-4 bedrooms, office space aplenty
'and seven acres of land including those three rentable fields.
'All that and it's only an hour and a half straight into London.'
It's a very light house, it's an interesting layout inside. There's nothing particularly formulaic
about what's gone on.
What I like is the potential to allow us to put our own print on. It's a big project over the years.
I think it's OK as a bedroom, but I actually personally...
I would knock through. I would make it a big, massive kitchen.
It's quite sweet from the outside. You don't expect there to be so much behind the front door.
The kitchen/diner is pretty good with fantastic views.
I found the land a little daunting because it's more than I was expecting. Great location.
Ah, my country land owners emerge!
Listen, East Sussex has plenty more to see. We should get into the car. I'm frozen. You've been ages!
'A big reason for this move to the country is so Catherine can indulge her passion for gardening.
'She wants a real taste of the good life, growing her own fruit, herbs and vegetables
'in a kitchen garden. So we've suggested they head along to West Dean Estate's walled kitchen garden
'for a few tips from Sarah Wain, the garden supervisor.'
-You're standing in the walled garden.
It's a very compact series of garden rooms, if you like.
-It would be really nice to know the purpose of a walled garden.
-They provide a protected area.
It keeps people out and it keeps animals out, like deer and rabbits.
It keeps the wind out, to a large extent.
And they are also located where they face the sun.
They are very sun-drenched positions with no overhanging trees.
So sun, no wind, no animals, job done.
'This garden was first established in the late 1800s to cater for the estate's fruit and veg needs.
'Having fallen into disrepair, Sarah has been redeveloping it since 1991.
'It's now home to over 100 vegetable fruits and herb varieties.
'Of course, sustainability is very much back in vogue, but you don't have to own a walled garden.
'Many plants, especially herb and lettuce, can be grown at home.
'The key things to remember are access to lots of sunlight, shelter and a free-draining soil.'
-So I wanted to show you this area.
-Which is a cold frame.
And we use it for growing all sorts of things, but at this time of year it's a lot of herbs.
You might like to try this one. This is a coriander. Very fine filigree foliage.
Very different from your commercially-bought stuff.
Well, yes. In looks, yeah.
Oh! I've dropped that bit.
-Oh, Asia, yes. Here we come.
-Sarah, what sort of food with all these lovely herbs...?
-Well, all sorts of different ways.
-Obviously for salads and things, but I've made a soup.
-With some herbs in it.
-If you're interested. Follow me.
'And not just any old soup. This is Sarah's Venetian pea soup with mint and Claytonia,
'picked fresh from the soil.'
-Oh, it's lovely.
-Mint in there.
-Yes, well done.
-This really is very, very good. I'm sold on the herb garden!
-If we can get the herbs...
-We could do this ourselves.
-I'll make you herb soup every day.
-I'd eat this every day, I have to be honest.
-You might get it!
Matthew and Catherine's house search as a couple has had ups and downs,
but on the whole I feel relatively confident that East Sussex will deliver that first together home,
whether it's a rural cottage or a property that makes them feel like country land owners.
But I want to give them that bit extra and believe me when I tell you that the mystery property
has lots of extras. I just pray they like it.
-We're on our way to the mystery house now. Glad to see you both smiling. Excited? Nervous?
-Anticipation. All of it, really.
-What would be the worst scenario?
-You might show us a church or a chapel or something like that!
'Ah. Not the answer I wanted, but I still have faith in the mystery house.
'We're heading to Framfield, situated in the Low Weald.
'It's a sleepy village with a couple of shops and a pub, but if that's too quiet
'for Catherine and Matthew, they can head to busier Uckfield.
'This commercial centre has plenty of shops and cafes, but most important is the main line station
'with direct links to London.
'The mystery house is right in the middle of the village, on the site of an old chapel.
'There's nothing ordinary about this five-bedroom home.'
-So was this an actual church or chapel?
-It was a corrugated tin chapel in the village.
-An architect basically razed it to the ground 10 years ago.
-And built this ecclesiastical-style family home.
-Different, isn't it?
-I can see why it's a mystery house!
-I'm not disappointed. Let's get inside.
-Come on, then.
That's the first time you've said that. 'The property oozes character. Inside and out has been finished
'to the highest standard, which surely can't fail to impress.'
-Close the door behind you.
-Oh, my God! That's probably not...
-It's a good expression!
I tell you, it's quite phenomenal.
-Whatever you think.
-Phenomenal, that's the word.
-It's the first time you've both been speechless!
Even from the outside, I didn't think it would be quite like this.
I just love this copper arch. All the lights are hidden inside, reflecting into the hallway.
The architect made all the doors and window frames by hand.
-And all the iron fittings.
-Come to the kitchen.
A nice room. Sweet. It's very sweet.
-Isn't it just? You can't really take it all in. Hand castings in the ceiling.
All the kitchen cupboards are hand-made.
The pew just behind you is an original pew from the chapel.
The detail is incredible and it is very themed along a particular...
Everything sits within this sort of theme of church and Gothic.
-First gadget for you. You ready?
-You push that button and...
That's an air purification system that takes the dust out of the air.
-In the whole house.
So if you've got any allergies, you can say goodbye to them in this property.
-I've always wanted one of those(!)
-If you buy the property, you've got one! Come on.
-Plenty more to see here.
'Unlike real church conversions where dividing space is tricky, the rooms are well proportioned
'without compromising on character.'
-A beautiful room, isn't it?
-If it's a living room you're after.
-It is a living room.
-Yeah, it's a living room.
-You've got the maple floor again, underfloor heating.
-A few little added extras in here.
Here's the first for you.
-You're not going to go down there?
-You can if you want.
-It's got a wine cellar down there!
-A wine cellar?
-It's used as that,
but actually it was where the font was in the chapel.
-It's a full immersion font, so you can get a whole body in there. It's still down there.
-Not the body.
-Not the body, no.
-He keeps his wine in the font.
-And why not, I say?
-Matthew, a little job for you.
-Come and stand over here, shall we? There we go.
If you...just push on this door behind me.
Ha ha! Oh, look at that!
-Isn't that an incredible use of space?
This is getting more theatrical by the moment!
-I'm feeling very at home with this.
-It's Phantom of the Opera.
'On this level, there's also a utility room. Even the cloakroom feels like a place of worship.
'The attention to detail is obvious. Where possible, original materials have been used
'for a real sense of authenticity.'
Of course, you'd expect a stained glass window in a church.
'And if they think downstairs is theatrical, wait for upstairs.'
I don't think I've ever seen a bedroom with a window quite so beautiful as that.
-What a great window.
-That's basically where the original chapel window was.
It was exactly that shape, but the architect, as you can see, has put his stamp on it.
-It's a phenomenal master bedroom.
-I have to say it really is.
-As you'd expect in a room as magnificent...
-An en suite as well!
Oh, yeah. Oh, fantastic.
-It's so clever.
-It's cleverly done.
-They've used the space so well.
-Shower through there.
-There's a lot of room in here as well.
-I think it's, you know, a beautiful room, really.
-But you like it.
-No, I do like it.
'The family bathroom and two further bedrooms on this floor -
'a double with a large Gothic window and a good-sized single.
'Up in the attic, the space has been used equally creatively.'
-OK, up here we've got two bedrooms.
-Good-sized double guest bedroom there.
-Right. Yes, you can see that's lovely.
-Come through here. This is what I want to show you.
-Your little bunk room.
-It's great. Really good fun.
-Very light and airy and just when you think you haven't enough storage...
-Check this out.
-See this TV socket?
-It's not really a TV socket.
-Oh, my goodness gracious me.
-It opens up a huge storage space.
-Very well thought out.
-The whole house is incredibly well thought out.
-Isn't it just?
-Dinky, isn't it?
-So you've seen the whole property inside.
-Follow me into the garden.
'The garden might not be as grand as the walled garden at West Dean,
'but there's enough room for Catherine to get started.'
-Lovely patio area.
-No, it's great. Good for entertaining.
And nice little garden pots.
A lovely little pond as well. What I love is the architect's used reflective glass
-to give that impression of extra space.
-More theatre techniques.
It's again a very theatrical trick.
-This is your lawn mower store.
I don't think so, darling.
'Even better, at the bottom of the garden is a brick outbuilding with water and electricity
'and a broadband connection already in place. That's the office sorted.'
So have a look at your church from back here.
-It's actually almost nicer from the back. It's just lovely.
-What's it on the market for?
-Oh, this is going to be so difficult.
I'll go for my 550 mark again. I'm sticking to my 550.
595. Guess what.
-What? Oh, no, not wrong again?
-Bang in the middle.
-575. Offers from £575,000.
But it's brilliantly finished for 575. You could just move in and wouldn't want to do a thing.
-As always, I'll meet you by the front door.
-See you in a minute.
I don't know who's more excited - me, Catherine or Matthew.
This is a phenomenal property. So much care, love and attention has been spent on it
to make it the property it is. Is it their dream home? They keep those cards close to their chest.
I can't read them. We'll find out soon, though.
With a price tag of £575,000, this five-bedroom house comes in
at just £5,000 under Matthew and Catherine's budget.
For that money, they'd be getting a totally unique home,
stunning Gothic features like the living room vaulted ceiling
and it comes with all the space that they've asked for, including that office.
-It's big, it's light, it's airy.
-It's unique. I just love these ceilings.
-I love the windows at the end.
-I really do. They open out the room.
They make the most of it.
The standard of finish is superb. Can't fault it, but the fact that everything surrounding it
is normal village-y accommodation, and then you've got this themed house in the middle,
it's great fun, but I'm not sure it works.
It's very well laid out and it's a very well-designed house.
It's got a character all of its own. Everything is themed.
You've got to go with that theme to want to live here.
'But will that kind of themed living suit them? I'll find out later.'
Matthew and Catherine have now seen all of our houses and their property tour is at an end.
They've liked aspects of all the houses, so time for them to weigh up the pros and cons.
All through the search, I found them quite difficult to read.
What have they made of the properties I've shown them? Well, now they have to tell me.
It's been quite difficult to gauge what your thoughts have been on all of the properties.
You've been smiling a lot.
-Let's start with the cottage in Ashdown Forest.
-I was really excited by it.
It had so much potential. I liked the location,
the actual character of the cottage, what you could do with it.
-There wasn't much, if anything, that I didn't like.
-You particularly liked the kitchen/diner.
I thought it had great potential.
I could see it would be quite a major project to get your teeth into
but I think if you're prepared to go down that route, ultimately it would be very worthwhile.
-You didn't want to take on a major project.
-That changed in 30 seconds!
-The realisation dawned.
-Needless to say we can't agree which bit we want to renovate!
-Which may come as a shock.
So we have agreed that you would want to renovate it.
It's a question of which part and which way you would renovate it.
-How about the cottage on the road?
-Nice family house. It had all the space, a lovely kitchen/diner.
They'd really put their stamp on it and made a very nice family home.
Possibly it had too much space for us. Upstairs, the number of bedrooms,
the way it was proportioned, it came over, it had the feel of a family home,
as opposed to the two of us in the home entertaining guests.
And the busy road didn't help, even though that's moving.
-What about the cottage a mile outside Battle?
-I thought it was pretty outside.
Then as you got into it, you suddenly saw how that layout worked, and what came after it
with the land and the garden and the fields, it kept giving more.
So I liked it an awful lot. If I'm looking for a negative,
it would be the maintenance, upkeep, you had that much land, that much garden.
We'd have to know exactly what we were doing with it to keep it as we would want to keep it.
And it was top end of the budget. But it's my dream to have that sort of land and garden.
-The land might look after itself.
-Yeah, it could. That's probably why we need a second look at it.
That's probably made up my mind. I would go back for a second look.
-Let's talk about the chapel.
-That was a marvellous house. A real labour of love.
I really liked it. I'm not sure it was the property for us.
-It's been built in such a way that you could never change anything about it.
Part of us moving out and what we would be looking for is to try to make a stamp on.
-Maybe we'd want to change this bit or build out.
-It wasn't to start with. This comes from being here.
No, it wasn't. And I think it's such a beautifully built house,
you just could not bring yourself to change anything about it.
But it was really fun. I'm really pleased we saw it.
-I loved the office under the stairs.
-It blew my mind.
-So are you going to go back and see any of the properties?
-Yes. We'll see Ashdown Forest again.
-Definitely. And I think we'll see Battle.
-The house on the hill with the land.
-I hope you find
that "together home" here in East Sussex.
If I was a betting man, I'd say there were good odds to be had
on Matthew and Catherine setting up home here in East Sussex.
Will it be one of our properties? I'm still none the wiser,
but I hope I've gone some way to showing them that the perfect house isn't always in the perfect location
and buying that first together home is all about give and take. Until next time, goodbye.
And if you'd like to escape to the country and would like our help
please apply online at:
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd