Hampshire Escape to the Country


Hampshire

Property series. Jules Hudson helps a young family search for the perfect home in rural Hampshire. With a budget of £600,000, a large and safe garden is key.


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Transcript


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Welcome to Escape To The Country.

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Today we are in a part of the UK that has been a popular retreat for centuries,

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not least with the Romans who really have left their mark here.

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Let's face it, if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

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Today we're helping a young family escape to one of the UK's priciest counties.

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-But will they be living in the pink?

-I'll paint it before I let my son come in here.

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We'll be checking out some amazing country homes.

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That is beautiful. You've thrown my beams in as well.

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And unexpectedly, today's mystery house becomes a battle of wills.

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-Does she ever say she's wrong?

-She's pretty stubborn.

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I'm never wrong.

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Today I'm in Hampshire, slap bang in the middle of the once great Roman

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amphitheatre just outside the old Roman town of Silchester.

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On a quiet day like this it is hard to imagine this place roaring

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to the sound of 7,000 spectators cheering on their favourite gladiator,

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but today, of course, it is a lot more tranquil,

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the ideal place to start any escape to the country.

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Let the games begin.

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Hampshire was in fact one of the first UK regions to fall to the invading Roman forces in 43 AD.

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Take one look at the stunning countryside and it is not hard

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to figure out why they chose to set up home here.

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This quintessential English county

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on the south coast is bordered by Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire,

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Surrey and West Sussex and its proximity to London

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makes is a prime destination for City commuters.

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Large swathes of this rural landscape remain untouched,

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thanks in part to the New Forest and England's newest national park, the South Downs,

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making this county's unspoilt charm a permanent fixture.

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The 34 mile coastline is home to plenty of

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pretty harbour towns and villages making it a mecca for yachties too.

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Is Hampshire a nice place to live?

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According to a recent study taking into account such important criteria as light pollution,

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access to local services, good pubs and general quality of life,

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it came a very respectable second just behind Devon

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but all that doesn't come cheap.

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Properties here can set you back as much as 33%

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above the national average but

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if you want picture perfect postcard landscape, just a hop from London,

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Hampshire is a pretty good bet.

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Don't take my word for it, here's a selection of what's on the market so you can judge for yourself.

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For £1.15 million you could snap up this five-bedroomed barn conversion

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in Ovington.

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Beneath the vaulted beamed ceilings you will find both character and ample living space and there is no

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scrimping on an alfresco lifestyle either with nearly an acre of land.

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Or for nearly half the price,

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£625,000 will buy this large 1850s period home in Bartley Heath.

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It comes with four bedrooms, two reception rooms and an oak kitchen.

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With an acre of land, all in all you might be spending more time outside.

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However if it is a cottage you are after, this charming four bedroomed

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semi-detached in the village of Binstead could be just the ticket.

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It offers up cosy country living

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and the £395,000 price tag shouldn't put you in the red.

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As you can see, there is plenty in the Hampshire property market that

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may tempt you which is exactly why today's buyers want to move here.

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Gus, a business manager and Tash, a marketing manager share their four

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bedroom modern house in Caversham near Reading with their son George.

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It is his arrival 18 months ago that has prompted their escape from the suburbs.

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We'd love to move to the country because we've been living in town now

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for six years or so and the opportunity to live somewhere a little bit more rural and let

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George grow up in that rural location would definitely be something we see as the next step forward for us.

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This house has been really lovely but the garden is totally impractical now for a toddler.

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It is nice but it is slopey and not ideal for him to be running around on.

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As far as location is, it is quite a long commute into work and takes us approximately an hour to get work.

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With both their offices near Farnborough in North Hampshire,

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they have already spent six months

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house hunting but to date have come up empty handed.

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We have found nice houses but perhaps on a busy road, they are not in the right location.

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We have found nice locations but not the right houses and it hasn't come together for us yet.

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What does their perfect home look like?

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Ideally we love character properties, we love cottages but we

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wouldn't rule out new houses as well if we found a really nice one.

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-And it was individual.

-And individual.

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Character cottages to modern homes is a very broad spectrum

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so what kind of detail will help us narrow the search?

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We would like our next house to have four bedrooms, an en suite,

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family bathroom, nice big kitchen/diner,

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nice living space downstairs

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and a nice big flat garden, ideally overlooking fields so George can enjoy that.

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Angus and I often work from home and before George was born we used his room as our study

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and now that he has got that as his bedroom, we use this area in the back room which isn't ideal.

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We would like a dedicated room that we could use as a study when we move house.

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This is my boys' room which is my opportunity to escape and watch big games of sport.

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It would be great if I could have something like this as

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a separate room rather than sharing it with the office in the new house.

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Though not essential, it would be great to have.

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Ellie is my horse who I have known for years and years.

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My dream is to have her at the bottom of the garden at some point.

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I would love a place with paddocks and stables.

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I'm more realistic and I don't know if that is achievable with our budget at the moment.

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To work out exactly how much they will have to spend on their new home,

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we've invited a local agent round to value their current house.

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It is a modern four-bedroomed detached family house, nice quiet cul de sac, close

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to schools and shops and I would value this property at £395,000.

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Well that won't get us far in Hampshire so what

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kind of figure do they have in mind for their new home?

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Our budget for this move is going to be £600,000.

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Now, clearly one of the key drivers for this move is young George.

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They want to give him a nice country start to his young life

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but they are going to have to find him a nice country house in which to do it.

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Specifically we are after four bedrooms, a nice big kitchen

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and a flat garden so George has plenty of room to play in and of course to grow up in.

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Their budget, on the face of it, is pretty good, £600,000.

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But I have to say Hampshire is one of the most expensive counties in southern England.

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Getting all they want for the money is going to be tricky.

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As you can see the wheat in Hampshire is about to ripen.

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Will we have found them their dream house by the time it is harvested? I wonder.

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As Gus and Tash work in the Farnborough area,

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and both their families are near Woking,

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they are keen to have easy access to the M3

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so we'll be focusing the property search in North Hampshire

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in the villages and hamlets surrounding Basingstoke.

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In today's show we'll be viewing three of the best family homes on the market

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but as always, we won't reveal the price tags until the end of the tours.

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The last of the three, the mystery house,

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won't be what they are expecting but will it make the grade?

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Well, chaps, how are you? Nice to see you Natasha.

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And you, Gus. Now then, your budget,

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-£600,000 in a very expensive part of the world.

-Challenging.

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It is quite challenging. You have been looking for some time so you kind of know what we are up against.

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-Who is really behind this move?

-Definitely me.

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-The problem is she has tastes beyond our budget.

-Is that true?

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-I'm a bit of a dreamer, I know that.

-I think a bit of a dream is OK.

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It is just how you manage the business of waking up, really.

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LAUGHTER

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-He's already awake.

-I am awake.

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-He tells me it isn't realistic.

-You're my realist?

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-Yes. On this mission and the dreamer's here.

-I like dreamers.

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Let's see what we can and find you and of course we've got the mystery house to come, so who knows?

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So for £600,000,

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Gus and Tash are after a sizable detached family home.

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A character cottage is the ideal, but they will consider modern too.

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Their must-haves include four bedrooms,

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a separate study, a big kitchen diner

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and for George, a playroom and a nice flat garden are vital.

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Finding all this in a popular village location

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will be a big challenge in Hampshire

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and when you throw in Tash's dream of paddocks, our job just got even tougher.

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Luckily, in Gus, we have a realist.

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Let's have a think about your budget.

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We've said £600,000, but how far can you push above that?

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I think we could push up by ten

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and at a real push, maybe 20,000.

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Maybe look at houses up to 650?

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On the market at 650 that might take an offer.

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OK, so you are optimistic about the effects of the current economic situation to try and bag a bargain?

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-Absolutely.

-I'd say that.

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A bargain at £650,000, I'd like to go shopping with you two.

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To kick off our property retail therapy,

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we are heading to the lovely little village of Bentworth.

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21 miles from Farnborough it is a reasonable 40-minute drive

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to work for Tash and Gus and the grandparents in Woking are still within striking distance.

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If I was a betting man, I'd wager that villages don't

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come much prettier than this with its 12th century church,

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thatched cottages and typical village green.

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There is also the all important pub and a primary school for George.

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I know Tash and Gus's ideal is a country cottage,

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but they're equally open to modern properties

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so we are taking them on their word and showing them something strictly 20th century.

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-What do you think of that then?

-I really like that side of it,

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-it's really nice, I like the shape of that.

-The big gable?

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Is that what it is, gable?

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It is pretty. Definitely modern.

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Probably less character but I like this driveway and the entrance.

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There is a little road there but it is not a main road.

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-That's fine.

-Because we're set back.

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It's raining, shall we get inside?

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Built in the mid 1960s this house definitely doesn't come

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with character features but what it does deliver is masses of space and a beautifully finished decor.

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We are starting off in the kitchen diner because I think it is a bit of a stunner.

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As you can see, a little utility.

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Wow, that is a gorgeous kitchen.

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-Huge, isn't it?

-That is lovely.

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-Enormous.

-That is what we want in a kitchen. That is lovely.

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It is not a farmhouse but it has a farmhouse feel to it.

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Really nice, I love the units.

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Three areas - kitchen, dining and living all in one room.

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It's nice, very nice.

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You don't actually have a dedicated separate dining room.

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That is why this space is so important.

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-Size wise...

-It is great.

-We'll spend more time as a family

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so when you are cooking, you are still around with George and the rest of us.

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If it is just you with the grown-ups having a glass of wine, making dinner, it is a nice place.

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It is nice for entertaining. I like this a lot.

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Right, let's continue through here.

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On our way through, look at this, this is the dedicated study area.

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-Purpose-built for the job but I think that would make a really good playroom.

-That is a nice size.

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George could enjoy that.

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Right next door to the kitchen so you can keep an eye on him and hear him.

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Do you remember when we were outside there was the car port

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and a separate garage, the separate garage could be, with a bit of work, a separate office.

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-Or a boys' play room.

-Or a boys' play room.

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That would work. George is playing in here, you are playing out there.

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Perfect.

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-Come on in here.

-That's lovely isn't it?

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It's really bright.

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That is nice, very nice. I like the staircase as well.

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That is the main route up.

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The front door is there so you can see how the whole thing is normally configured.

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The fireplace is working.

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It is lovely, isn't it?

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It is really nice and spacious, it has a good feel to it.

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Windows coming from both sides.

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-So far so good?

-Yes, very good.

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Let's go upstairs, come and look at this.

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'Great stuff. I can safely say downstairs has got the thumbs up.'

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'Let's see if we can keep up the good work upstairs.'

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What about this for young George?

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Pink for George, he'd love it!

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I will definitely paint it before I let my son in here!

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He can have his girlfriends to stay here.

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He is not even two yet.

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-Give him a chance.

-It is perfect.

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I like the sound of that and there's plenty more space up here

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with an en suite double bedroom, ideal for visiting grandparents.

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A single bedroom and the family bathroom.

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Come in here. You do get quite a big room.

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It is a good size.

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I am admiring the view somewhat.

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You are not overlooked, which is great.

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It's really, really nice.

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How are we doing out of ten, then?

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It is pretty good actually.

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I think I am seven ish.

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-Seven or eight.

-Seven or eight?

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-Eight?

-Possibly an eight. I haven't seen outside yet though.

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Let's go out there and finish off and then we'll discuss how much it is going to cost.

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There is no denying this house has masses of interior space

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but the outside could be a bit of a compromise.

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There's plenty of it at a third of an acre,

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but it surrounds the house with a small entertaining patio

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at the back. Most of the lawn is at the front and side.

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So, can they make it work for them?

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What there is does sort of wrap itself around the building.

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Those are the double doors from the kitchen.

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So there's a little kitchen area.

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-If George is out playing and you just want to keep an eye on him...

-You can just open the doors.

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Exactly.

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That's the versatility of it. You've got access on three sides to the outside space.

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-Not huge.

-Not huge but...

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-Yeah.

-Yeah? OK.

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The garden isn't such a big hit.

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I wonder if the price will be? So what's it worth? Angus?

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I'm going to go for 560.

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I would say about 565. I don't know what they cost around here.

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Well, you are looking at a pretty meaty figure of 635.

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-Oh, wow!

-We're quite a long way off.

-Expensive around here, then!

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Well, this is what we're up against in the search.

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The house is nice. It's just the garden.

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-Go on. I'll catch up with you later.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

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So this is over budget at £635,000 but it's a lot of house.

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It's been on the market for a few months, so there should be a little room for negotiation.

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It's a beautifully finished family home with a huge kitchen diner,

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large living room, four bedrooms and space for a study.

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At one third of an acre, the garden is sizeable.

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But will Gus and Tash be able to compromise on the garden layout for a very spacious house?

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You could easily make this into something.

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I think because it's got the window in the door here,

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you could make this into a room, couldn't you?

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Yeah, I think you could make it into an office or a boys' playroom.

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We like the house. This room especially is absolutely brilliant.

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A really big, spacious family room.

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Upstairs is good as well with four decent-sized bedrooms.

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The real problem is outside.

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This is such a nice space for entertaining for us in the evening,

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but if it was in addition to a nice flat garden for George.

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It really is a small, small back garden.

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I thought I'd just check this out for George. It's quite nice really.

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-He'd like this!

-He'd love it, wouldn't he? OK.

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So, seen enough then?

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-Yeah.

-Lots to think about.

-Yes, I think so.

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-A little disappointed with the garden, but I like the house.

-Good.

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Well, keep thinking that thought.

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Just one of the many fascinating places Gus and Tash will have on their doorstep

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when they move to North Hampshire, is Silchester, the UK's largest and longest-running archaeological dig.

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As an archaeologist myself, I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to explore this ancient Roman town.

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So I'm meeting up with the project director, Professor Mike Fulford.

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Now, the most obvious thing about Silchester are the great walls that define it.

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How big an area do they enclose?

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When you look around, those walls enclose more than 100 acres.

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The amphitheatre is outside the walls.

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So, I don't know, 200 more acres of settlement here in the first, second century.

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The town was built on a grid system and divided into blocks known as insulae.

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Each insula consisted of a wide variety of domestic dwellings, from a couple of large two-storey

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stone town houses, to a dozen or so more modest timber homes.

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And with shops, blacksmiths and cesspits, they weren't short on local amenities either.

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Although the site was discovered and part excavated in the 19th century,

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this particular dig, run by the University of Reading, started in 1997.

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It's a training ground for would-be Indiana Joneses.

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Now I have found my old trowel - you're going to laugh at this. Look - there you are.

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Rubbish! But it was once upon a time a very proud new implement.

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Michael said I could have a go.

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So, where do you want me to help?

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Well, if you're coming in next to us...

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Brilliant.

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'Well, it looks like all I'm uncovering today is gravel.

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'Although luckily, 13 years of digging has unearthed some fascinating artefacts.'

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This is a very special find. You can see

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two dogs here.

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But in fact it's a folding knife or a razor.

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So there's the blade, and it's folded in to look like a penknife.

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And that's Roman?

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That's Roman. Probably carved in the second century AD.

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Have you got any more everyday things that you found here?

0:19:280:19:32

Here we've got a brooch.

0:19:320:19:34

A classic Roman find, really.

0:19:340:19:37

In beautiful condition.

0:19:370:19:39

-Made of bronze?

-Yeah, bronze, but with this tanning which gives a sort of silvery appearance.

0:19:390:19:43

That's deliberately added to the copper alloy.

0:19:430:19:47

At the height of its popularity, Silchester was a city with upwards

0:19:470:19:51

of 7,000 inhabitants, and it thrived until the sixth century AD.

0:19:510:19:56

So why did it disappear? Where did all the people go?

0:19:560:19:59

Well, here's a thought - maybe they decided to escape to the country too!

0:19:590:20:04

As the sun sets over Hampshire, the first day of our property tour is over.

0:20:130:20:17

We have a big challenge on our hands in pricey Hampshire.

0:20:240:20:27

For £600,000, Gus and Tash want a large detached family home.

0:20:270:20:33

-It's enormous.

-That's what we want in the kitchen.

0:20:330:20:35

With an equally large garden.

0:20:350:20:37

-Not huge.

-Not huge.

0:20:370:20:39

So will we ever find the perfect combination?

0:20:390:20:42

-It's a nice house.

-There's loads of space downstairs.

0:20:420:20:45

It's huge downstairs, which is brilliant. I like it.

0:20:450:20:49

And the mystery house is something they would never consider.

0:20:490:20:53

-But could it be their dream home?

-It's a beautiful kitchen.

0:20:530:20:55

That is stunning.

0:20:550:20:57

-Oh, you're in pain to say this, aren't you?

-Yeah!

0:20:570:21:00

It's the start of our final day's house hunt here in Hampshire.

0:21:030:21:06

And I think that reality is finally beginning to dawn on Natasha.

0:21:060:21:11

We know she's something of a dreamer.

0:21:110:21:13

But, of course, for her, the dream goes on - finding

0:21:130:21:15

that gorgeous country property complete with land and stables.

0:21:150:21:19

But as we are learning, that is going to be a very difficult thing to find.

0:21:190:21:23

However, there may be a solution. Two more houses to come today, including,

0:21:230:21:26

of course, the mystery house So who knows, you might be in luck.

0:21:260:21:30

Mmm, lovely.

0:21:300:21:31

We kick off today's property search in Baughurst. It's a tad further

0:21:380:21:42

away from Farnborough at 26 miles, but still a commutable distance.

0:21:420:21:47

This village offers up the quiet Hampshire life.

0:21:470:21:50

There are two churches and two pubs, but the nearest primary school

0:21:500:21:54

is a five-minute drive away in Burnham Copse.

0:21:540:21:59

There's a real mix of period and modern properties here.

0:21:590:22:02

And with our next viewing, we're trying to combine the two.

0:22:020:22:05

-Wow! Like the drive!

-Yeah, really good.

0:22:070:22:10

-Yeah?

-That's nice.

-What do you think?

-Yeah, very nice.

0:22:100:22:13

I mean, it's not olde worlde. It's probably '60s or so at its core.

0:22:130:22:19

But it's been much extended since then.

0:22:190:22:21

So you do get a lot of house.

0:22:210:22:23

It's very nice. Lovely setting.

0:22:230:22:25

-You like the fields beyond, don't you?

-Yeah.

0:22:250:22:27

It's lovely. I love the front garden.

0:22:270:22:29

-It's beautiful. Really nice.

-Good.

0:22:290:22:31

All right. Let's see what you think.

0:22:310:22:34

On the inside...

0:22:340:22:35

well, it's kind of not what you think really.

0:22:350:22:37

-Oh, really?

-Interesting.

0:22:370:22:39

Great reactions. And I'm confident the interiors won't disappoint, but it will be quite a surprise.

0:22:390:22:45

-Right...

-Wow, that's nice, isn't it?

-Grab the door, Gus.

-That's lovely.

-Yeah?

0:22:490:22:54

-Big spacious hallway.

-It's not what you expect from outside, because it's a modern build.

0:22:540:22:58

But what the owners have, I think, very successfully done, is fill it with loads of character and texture.

0:22:580:23:05

This floor, reclaimed, I think from an old school.

0:23:050:23:09

-It's a lovely entrance hall.

-Beautiful.

0:23:090:23:11

Right, let's start with the dining room.

0:23:110:23:13

-There we are.

-Oh, it's lovely.

0:23:160:23:18

Yeah?

0:23:180:23:19

-That's a really good-sized dining room.

-And they've got a really big table in here.

0:23:190:23:22

Right then. Come with me...

0:23:220:23:24

Now then, principal reception room, I suppose, one would say.

0:23:270:23:30

What do you think?

0:23:300:23:32

Love the fireplace. That's gorgeous.

0:23:320:23:34

-That's all working.

-Is it?

-It's quite unusual, the surround.

0:23:340:23:36

Well, it's one of the features of this house.

0:23:360:23:38

It's a modern build effectively.

0:23:380:23:40

What they've done, and it's quite difficult to get right, is inject

0:23:400:23:43

lots of texture - I was going to say character, but it's texture really - to give it a nice warm feel.

0:23:430:23:50

So it doesn't have that clinical, new look. I think they've got the balance spot on.

0:23:500:23:54

And that surround is just one of those kind of details that

0:23:540:23:58

makes every room unique.

0:23:580:23:59

'Next door is a small but perfectly formed study.

0:23:590:24:04

'But let's see what they make of the kitchen.'

0:24:040:24:08

-Right, then...

-I like the range, that's nice.

0:24:090:24:12

Country kitchen!

0:24:120:24:13

Country kitchen in a nice country setting, but in a modern house.

0:24:130:24:18

It's nice. It's quite narrow and long but it works well.

0:24:180:24:22

Yeah, it still feels quite spacious.

0:24:220:24:24

Let's continue through here.

0:24:240:24:26

That's your breakfast area.

0:24:260:24:27

-That's nice.

-Perfect.

0:24:270:24:29

And again, that little sub-division works quite nicely.

0:24:290:24:32

Nice to have family meals in there.

0:24:320:24:34

But this space is really useful too.

0:24:340:24:35

It's really lovely. So bright.

0:24:370:24:39

That's a silly thing to say when it's glass, but it is so bright.

0:24:390:24:41

And it really does extend the footprint of the building quite considerably if you think about it.

0:24:410:24:46

So, the ground floor is obviously a big hit.

0:24:460:24:50

But can we get top marks upstairs too, I wonder.

0:24:500:24:53

Right, let's start in here, then.

0:24:560:24:58

-Tha's nice.

-Guest room.

0:24:580:25:00

I like the beams.

0:25:000:25:02

-I thought you would.

-It's a really good size for a guest room, yeah.

0:25:020:25:05

Along the hallway, is the family bathroom.

0:25:050:25:08

Two single rooms and a very sizable master bedroom.

0:25:080:25:12

-That's a nice room.

-Yeah?

-Yeah, that's good.

-So, this is you.

0:25:120:25:16

-Yeah, more beams again.

-More beams.

0:25:160:25:17

Very similar to the guest room, but defines the shape of the...

0:25:170:25:21

of the roof itself. But have a look there.

0:25:210:25:24

That's your en suite shower.

0:25:240:25:26

That's nice. That's good.

0:25:260:25:28

-It's lovely.

-Drawers built into the wall.

0:25:280:25:31

-Yeah?

-Yeah, that's good.

0:25:310:25:32

Good. So, how are we doing on this one?

0:25:320:25:37

-Really good.

-Good views, again.

-Overall, how are we feeling?

0:25:370:25:40

-It's a nice house.

-There's loads of space downstairs, it's huge downstairs which is brilliant.

0:25:400:25:45

I like it. I love the look of the garden.

0:25:450:25:47

We haven't been out there, but as we arrived, it looks really good.

0:25:470:25:51

Right, let's go and see it. Come on.

0:25:510:25:52

Well, if anything can persuade them this house is a contender, it's the garden.

0:25:540:25:58

At three-quarters of an acre, it's the biggest we're viewing,

0:25:580:26:01

and even better, there could be an option for Tash's horse.

0:26:010:26:04

So, there we are.

0:26:050:26:07

-That's it.

-That's huge.

0:26:070:26:10

It's really nice. Lovely.

0:26:100:26:12

-I love the setting.

-In terms of ...

0:26:120:26:15

the horse.

0:26:150:26:17

-Yes.

-What you see is what you get, right?

0:26:170:26:19

Yep.

0:26:190:26:21

But there may be possibilities.

0:26:210:26:22

-This is rentable.

-Is it?

0:26:220:26:25

-Really?

-Yes. This is a conversation you will have to have with the landowner.

0:26:250:26:29

-But, you know...

-That's amazing.

0:26:310:26:33

I can't give you a price on this, but...

0:26:330:26:35

-It's lovely to have that option.

-Things to think about.

0:26:350:26:38

-That would be quite special.

-But the main thing is the property.

0:26:380:26:41

-Yeah.

-Let's have a think about the difficult bit, shall we? You go first. The money.

0:26:410:26:46

I think it's probably about 635.

0:26:460:26:49

635?

0:26:490:26:51

I think it is a little bit over budget but I don't think it's that quite far over budget.

0:26:510:26:56

I'm going to say 615.

0:26:560:26:58

615?

0:26:580:27:00

Well, what can I say?

0:27:000:27:02

It does begin with a 6.

0:27:020:27:05

It's £650,000.

0:27:050:27:08

-It has been reduced to that.

-Really?

0:27:080:27:11

-Yep, so...

-It's good, though. There's a lot to like.

0:27:110:27:15

-A lot to like, brilliant.

-There's loads of space in there as well.

0:27:150:27:18

OK. Well, go and see if you can find any more to like.

0:27:180:27:21

-I'll catch up with you later.

-Thank you.

-Brilliant.

0:27:210:27:24

There we are. Yes, indeed, it does rather push of the top end of our budget, it has to be said.

0:27:240:27:31

But that is what we are up against.

0:27:310:27:32

Time and again, Hampshire is a very popular place to be.

0:27:320:27:36

No surprise, then, that things aren't cheap.

0:27:360:27:39

The £650,000 price tag should be negotiable as this property has been on the market for over six months.

0:27:420:27:50

It's a really spacious home with lots of character.

0:27:500:27:53

It comes with two reception rooms, a country kitchen,

0:27:530:27:56

a spacious conservatory, a study and four bedrooms.

0:27:560:28:00

The real bonus, though, is the three-quarters of an acre garden

0:28:000:28:03

with potential to rent the paddock next door.

0:28:030:28:06

The question is, will they think it's worth the stretch in budget.

0:28:060:28:09

These rooms are nice, but they are quite small.

0:28:110:28:14

But you do lose loads of the room just in those wall spaces.

0:28:140:28:17

There's so much space here that's lost

0:28:170:28:19

and if you lost some of that, they'd be good-sized bedrooms. I think it's a great house.

0:28:190:28:24

There's so much space downstairs and loads of space outside, which is absolutely brilliant.

0:28:240:28:29

The only downside is the two smaller bedrooms are quite small.

0:28:290:28:34

It would be interesting to see whether we could make them a bit bigger by losing that chimney.

0:28:340:28:38

I love the fact there's a chance to rent the field out the back. That's really nice to have.

0:28:380:28:42

Just to be able to look up and see the horses through there is absolutely gorgeous.

0:28:420:28:47

That's a really nice bonus.

0:28:470:28:48

It's just a beautiful thing to look over.

0:28:480:28:50

-Still plotting?

-Yeah.

0:28:500:28:52

Good. I'm glad this place is of interest because it should be.

0:28:540:28:58

It's in the right spot. It's a nice house.

0:28:580:29:00

Perfect location. Lovely setting.

0:29:000:29:02

-Very nice.

-OK, I'm going to drag you away.

0:29:020:29:04

As Tash is a passionate horse rider and Gus, as a golfer,

0:29:130:29:16

has an impeccable swing, we thought we'd put their separate skills to the test with a polo lesson.

0:29:160:29:23

Instructor of eight years, Aurora Eastwood, is showing them the ropes.

0:29:230:29:27

You need to adopt a wide-legged, bent-knees stance and just position yourself.

0:29:270:29:32

Position the ball about eight inches to the side.

0:29:320:29:36

And hit the ball forwards. Easy as that.

0:29:360:29:39

-It might be a piece of cake for the professionals, but how will our novices fair?

-And just gently swing.

0:29:390:29:45

Don't force it.

0:29:450:29:48

Excellent. Straight out of the arena.

0:29:480:29:50

Hold up, Gus! You're one not on the 18th hole now.

0:29:500:29:54

Head over the ball. That's it. Head down. There we go. Perfect.

0:29:540:29:57

Perfect.

0:29:570:29:59

Well, it looks like Gus has got the upper hand for now.

0:29:590:30:02

But it's time to saddle up and adding a horse into the mix can make all the difference.

0:30:020:30:07

You have to learn to steer, for a start.

0:30:070:30:09

Make a gentle fist and then it's just like a joystick.

0:30:090:30:13

Go, stop, left, right. Manoeuvre.

0:30:130:30:17

Although a sport linked to royalty and the upper classes, in recent years it's become more accessible

0:30:170:30:22

to the masses thanks in part to the price of lessons dropping by as much as 80%.

0:30:220:30:26

So, how many lessons do think you'd need?

0:30:260:30:28

-I think you could take part in instructional chukkas after three or four hours.

-Really?

-Yes.

0:30:280:30:33

Then, as long as you kept it up and kept having lessons, you could

0:30:330:30:36

take part in club chukkas depending on how much time you put in, really.

0:30:360:30:40

It's better to do it on polo ponies rather than trying to retrain...?

0:30:400:30:43

Trying to teach your own horse and learn to play polo at the same time makes it very difficult.

0:30:430:30:48

These horses are amazing.

0:30:480:30:49

Yeah, they're really experienced and they know the game better than we do. Good!

0:30:490:30:54

At most clubs, tutorials start from around £30 an hour.

0:30:540:30:58

And the good news? There's been a threefold increase in polo clubs opening across the country.

0:30:580:31:03

Showing off now, Angus.

0:31:030:31:07

He is going to be unbearable now that he was good at it so this could have been a mistake, but...

0:31:070:31:11

I'll be back with mine next time!

0:31:110:31:14

-I think you should both come back and foster the competitive spirit.

-Maybe.

0:31:140:31:19

When it comes to the mystery house, I would absolutely love

0:31:230:31:26

to give Natasha the acres she wants with the stables and a pretty country house to match.

0:31:260:31:32

But, sadly, that isn't going to happen.

0:31:320:31:36

What we will be viewing is a semi-detached and it's on the road.

0:31:360:31:39

To see how that goes down, we need to head to Oakhanger.

0:31:390:31:43

It's a short commute to work in Farnborough

0:31:430:31:45

which lies just 16 miles away and it's as rural as villages come.

0:31:450:31:50

Gus and Tash can immerse themselves in the community either at the pub

0:31:500:31:53

or village hall and I'm sure George will enjoy the animal life,

0:31:530:31:57

from horses to alpacas.

0:31:570:32:00

When it comes to having countryside on your doorstep, the mystery house

0:32:000:32:04

has it all, as it's right on the edge of Shortheath Common.

0:32:040:32:08

But, it is semi-detached and, as such, they would never normally have considered it.

0:32:080:32:13

OK, this is it. That...

0:32:180:32:23

-This is the mystery house?

-..is a mystery house.

0:32:230:32:26

-That's different.

-That is different.

0:32:260:32:28

I like the house. Not sure about the road.

0:32:280:32:30

We're in the middle of Oakhanger. So, village green just there.

0:32:300:32:34

So, quite nice village location, but what separates this

0:32:340:32:38

from the other properties we've seen is that it isn't separated.

0:32:380:32:42

It's a semi-detached.

0:32:420:32:44

Which I know you were saying, "We don't want semi-detached", but...

0:32:440:32:49

What you see on the outside is not what you get on the inside.

0:32:490:32:53

-OK.

-Trust me?

-OK, yeah.

0:32:530:32:55

Let's go and see.

0:32:550:32:57

This Victorian semi is deceptive to say the least.

0:32:590:33:02

It's been renovated and extended in the last few years to offer really spacious accommodation.

0:33:020:33:08

I'm hoping when they see the interior, all thoughts of that road will be forgotten.

0:33:080:33:13

-Right.

-OK.

-Enter the mystery house.

0:33:170:33:21

-Nice hallway.

-It's got a very fresh, modern feel to it.

0:33:210:33:24

-Yeah.

-I like the hallway.

-You need convincing.

-I can just hear that road.

0:33:240:33:28

You need convincing. Come into the kitchen.

0:33:280:33:32

-That is a lovely kitchen.

-Yeah, you see?

0:33:330:33:37

-That is a lovely kitchen.

-I knew you'd like this. Look at it. It's gorgeous.

0:33:370:33:41

-It's a beautiful kitchen.

-That is stunning.

-Your pained to say this, aren't you?

0:33:410:33:45

-Yeah.

-On the way in, did you say, "I'm not going to like this because of the road"?

0:33:450:33:49

Yes, I did.

0:33:490:33:50

And are you getting a bit grumpy because you might like it?

0:33:500:33:53

No.

0:33:530:33:56

It's a nice kitchen.

0:33:560:33:58

It's a gorgeous kitchen. Go through there.

0:33:580:34:00

It goes on. Go check it out.

0:34:000:34:02

-It is lovely, isn't it?

-It's really nice.

0:34:020:34:04

It's a lovely space.

0:34:040:34:07

-Really bright and airy.

-It's been done really, really well. You see.

0:34:070:34:12

-It's really well done, isn't it?

-Can you hear the road?

0:34:120:34:16

Not really.

0:34:160:34:18

-It is a lovely kitchen.

-He's smiling, I love it.

0:34:200:34:23

I hope this house can win them over and I really want Tash to banish that road from her mind

0:34:250:34:30

because this house offers them so much more space than any of the properties we've viewed.

0:34:300:34:35

Across the hall is a 20 ft formal sitting room

0:34:350:34:38

but there are plenty of options here for grown-ups and toddlers too.

0:34:380:34:44

This is the new extension.

0:34:440:34:45

-Wow, OK.

-Part of it.

0:34:450:34:48

-It keeps going.

-Doesn't it?

0:34:480:34:49

Look at this place.

0:34:490:34:51

This is something of a snug, they've got it as an office,

0:34:510:34:54

double doors out, it would make a great playroom.

0:34:540:34:56

I didn't expect this. I didn't expect this at all.

0:34:560:34:59

Aah! You won't expect this either. Come through here. This, I love.

0:34:590:35:02

-This is the family room now.

-It's beautiful.

0:35:020:35:05

-It's lovely, isn't it?

-Yeah?

0:35:050:35:07

It's a beautiful room.

0:35:070:35:09

It's nice. It is great.

0:35:090:35:12

How are we doing? Are you warming up?

0:35:120:35:16

Is it a battle of wills here?

0:35:160:35:18

-Does she ever say she's wrong?

-She's pretty stubborn.

-I'm never wrong.

-Right. OK.

0:35:180:35:22

How are you feeling about it, Gus?

0:35:220:35:25

I really like the way the house works, the way is laid out and all the spaces.

0:35:250:35:31

Can we put up with the road?

0:35:310:35:33

-I don't know.

-OK.

0:35:330:35:35

I'm beginning to get the feeling our dreamer is never going to wake up to the idea of compromise.

0:35:350:35:41

-Now, bedrooms-wise, you've got five to choose from.

-Five!

0:35:450:35:50

Yeah, five.

0:35:500:35:52

This is guest room, I would suggest to you.

0:35:520:35:56

It's a pretty room. A really good size.

0:35:560:35:59

-Loads of storage.

-I do like the windows.

0:35:590:36:02

-They're actually really nice windows.

-Right.

-Softening?

0:36:020:36:05

Softening. Good, warming up.

0:36:050:36:08

Excellent! Out you go! Softening!

0:36:080:36:10

Softening! What does that mean?

0:36:100:36:14

I don't think the rest of this floor will fail to impress either.

0:36:140:36:17

Just next door is the family bathroom and there are three good-sized singles.

0:36:170:36:22

This is the master.

0:36:220:36:26

-Wow! That is beautiful.

-Wow!

0:36:260:36:27

-It's quite...

-He's thrown my beams in as well.

-Yeah, how about that?

0:36:270:36:31

-Gorgeous! It's lovely. A lovely room.

-A real feature room.

0:36:310:36:34

Yeah, have a look in there.

0:36:340:36:37

Go and check that out. That's your en suite.

0:36:370:36:39

It's lovely.

0:36:390:36:40

-They've done a brilliant job of this master suite, haven't they?

-Yeah. Out you come.

0:36:400:36:45

So...

0:36:450:36:47

-Yeah, that's lovely.

-Coming around, softening, warming up.

0:36:470:36:51

All of those phrases, I think, are probably appropriate.

0:36:510:36:54

Yes. It's beautifully done.

0:36:540:36:56

-They've done an amazing job.

-Yeah.

0:36:560:36:59

Well, the inside of our mystery house seems to be working its charm.

0:36:590:37:03

Let's see if we can seal a deal outside.

0:37:030:37:06

All in all, there's just under a quarter of an acre, including

0:37:060:37:09

a veggie patch and an outside office or boy's room for Gus.

0:37:090:37:14

Sadly, no space for Tash's horse, Ellie, so will it come close to the dream?

0:37:140:37:19

So, what do we think of the garden?

0:37:190:37:22

Yes, it's a nice garden. Really nice.

0:37:220:37:24

A lot bigger when you get out here than from the front of the house.

0:37:240:37:27

How much do you think it's worth?

0:37:270:37:29

I think the house itself would be worth a lot more if not for the road

0:37:290:37:33

and the fact it's a semi, so I would go in at about 595, bearing those in mind.

0:37:330:37:38

595...

0:37:380:37:40

I think 630.

0:37:400:37:43

630... Well, you said at the beginning of this little search that

0:37:430:37:47

you were the realist and once again you've proved yourself right, Gus.

0:37:470:37:50

Offers in the region of £650,000.

0:37:500:37:55

Go on, go and check it out.

0:37:550:37:57

Listen to the road, explore all the rooms on their own

0:37:570:38:01

and get a real sense of this place because it really is quite special.

0:38:010:38:05

-OK.

-I'll catch you later.

0:38:050:38:07

Well, that was the mystery house.

0:38:070:38:09

No house is ever perfect because they always have something you have to compromise on.

0:38:090:38:13

In this case, of course, it's the road but you do get

0:38:130:38:16

a gorgeous village location and a gorgeous house.

0:38:160:38:19

For a guide price of £650,000, this is a lot of property to the pound.

0:38:190:38:24

It has been on the market for six months, so a little negotiation should be possible.

0:38:260:38:32

It's a beautifully-finished, semi-detached family home

0:38:320:38:35

with five bedrooms, two reception rooms plus a conservatory, a study and a good-sized garden.

0:38:350:38:42

But will they be able to compromise on its proximity to the road?

0:38:420:38:47

-You certainly get a lot of space for your money for a semi-detached, don't you?

-Yeah, that's very true.

0:38:470:38:53

Well, it's a huge property.

0:38:530:38:56

Probably half as much again as big as the other houses we've seen and that is amazing.

0:38:560:39:01

Five bedrooms and all the others have been four.

0:39:010:39:03

All the others have had small bedrooms as well and all five of these are really big.

0:39:030:39:08

Again, I could picture myself having loads of fun with George kicking a ball around, using the garden room.

0:39:080:39:13

The house itself is brilliant, so...

0:39:130:39:17

Not disappointed in the house, just the location.

0:39:190:39:21

When I turned up at the mystery property, I had to admit I was disappointed because of the road.

0:39:210:39:26

I thought the house was beautiful, a really pretty house, but I couldn't ignore the road.

0:39:260:39:30

When we came in, I thought, it's beautifully done, huge rooms and couldn't fault the inside.

0:39:300:39:37

I could live here. It's beautiful, beautiful.

0:39:370:39:39

We always said we would never look at a semi-detached

0:39:390:39:44

and I was surprised how it didn't bother me, that wasn't the issue.

0:39:440:39:48

The issue was the road.

0:39:480:39:50

But... The road!

0:39:500:39:52

But the house itself is beautiful.

0:39:520:39:54

It's a really nice summer house, isn't it? A perfect boys' room.

0:39:540:39:58

You could, or I could use it as a perfect little getaway.

0:39:580:40:01

-Is there a debate?

-Yeah.

0:40:010:40:04

I always like it when there is a bit of an argument, not a full-blown argument.

0:40:040:40:08

Now then, that's it, guys.

0:40:080:40:10

House tours are now over. You have seen all that we

0:40:100:40:14

had to offer you.

0:40:140:40:15

-So, plenty to think about.

-Definitely.

0:40:150:40:18

Shall we get you away, sat down and give you space to mull it over and we'll have a chat about it.

0:40:180:40:25

-Yeah.

-Come on!

0:40:250:40:27

Our property tour of Hampshire is nearly at an end.

0:40:320:40:35

We've seen some wonderful houses and some wonderful gardens, but have we

0:40:350:40:39

managed to combine the two and come up with Gus and Tash's dream home?

0:40:390:40:44

Time to find out.

0:40:440:40:47

-Hello, you two.

-Hi.

0:40:470:40:49

-How are we doing?

-Not too bad.

0:40:490:40:51

-Very good.

-Journey's end, I suppose. Look what I found you.

-I know!

0:40:510:40:55

It's lovely.

0:40:550:40:57

If only! If only! It all began with something altogether quite different with a little front garden.

0:40:570:41:06

That house was lovely, beautiful inside. Quite surprised me how much we like that inside.

0:41:060:41:09

-Would you have looked at that on paper?

-No, in all honesty, I don't think we would have done.

0:41:090:41:14

The more we went round it, the more it grew on us, I think.

0:41:140:41:18

Then we gave you the chance to sleep on what you've seen thus far and we began our final day's

0:41:180:41:23

house hunt with what I thought was a very interesting property, lovely garden, very quiet spot.

0:41:230:41:28

-What happened there?

-I think that property was beautiful.

0:41:280:41:31

The plot was amazing, exactly what I wanted.

0:41:310:41:35

The views over the meadows, the big gardens, absolutely gorgeous.

0:41:350:41:38

The only question we've probably got is about the two bedrooms upstairs

0:41:380:41:42

were a bit small and whether there's something we could do to make them any bigger?

0:41:420:41:46

Finally, it was time to reveal the mystery house which was absolutely not on your list.

0:41:460:41:52

-By a road, semi-detached...but what a house!

-You threw it in there!

0:41:520:41:57

That took me by surprise.

0:41:570:41:59

My initial reaction was disappointment but the house itself was absolutely beautiful.

0:41:590:42:03

You couldn't fault the inside of the house at all.

0:42:030:42:06

It was just whether we could live with that road.

0:42:060:42:09

We would never have looked at a semi-detached and we didn't even notice it when we were there.

0:42:090:42:14

What happens next, I wonder?

0:42:140:42:17

My sense with all of this is that we have shown you some lovely

0:42:170:42:20

properties but they are still not the dream.

0:42:200:42:24

-No.

-But it has been great for me to realise that perhaps the dream is not realistic just yet.

0:42:240:42:29

-Huh?!

-I know, I can't believe I'm saying this!

0:42:290:42:32

-If nothing else, we've pleased you!

-It's been a good thing to do.

0:42:320:42:36

She is now more realistic.

0:42:360:42:37

OK, so it has been a learning curve of realism.

0:42:370:42:40

-Yeah, I think so.

-I'm delighted you've come on the show.

0:42:400:42:42

-I'm delighted we've given you some focus on what it is you're going to look for. Best of luck.

-Cheers.

0:42:420:42:49

I do hope you find it eventually.

0:42:490:42:52

-Cheers.

-When you do, let us know.

-Will do.

-Here's to you!

0:42:520:42:56

Hampshire is a pretty tough place to operate in. It's very expensive because it's very popular

0:42:590:43:04

and also very beautiful. By their own admission, we started out with

0:43:040:43:08

a realist on one hand and a dreamer on the other but, of course, the dream has yet to become a reality.

0:43:080:43:14

But the good news is, they are going to keep looking - just as I knew they would to.

0:43:140:43:18

So, fingers crossed in the future they will find their ideal escape to the country.

0:43:180:43:23

I'll see you next time.

0:43:230:43:24

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0:43:260:43:27

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0:43:270:43:29

or England and would like our help,

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