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The county I'm in today is the largest producer of these beauties,
providing over 3,500 tons of this powerhouse superfruit
for pies and juices around the world.
But, were it not for World War II, they might not have become quite so popular.
So join me in a moment for a "berry" exciting Escape To The Country.
'On today's show, we'll be helping a couple
'head into the country to find a property with big business potential.
-'There'll be surprise...'
-Oh, my God!
-'There'll be tears...'
-Try not to cry!
-'..and there'll be laughter.'
Can you just get your chequebook out?
And then there's the mystery house, which will throw it all into a spin.
Welcome to Herefordshire. Today I'm at Whitton Farm,
that produces just some of the mammoth crop of blackcurrants
we love so much. But it wasn't always the case.
Because of shipping blockades, shortage of oranges
during the Second World War meant blackcurrant crops were encouraged
by the government, as they provide a great vitamin-C alternative
to oranges. So from 1942 onwards,
the entire UK harvest was made into squash
for schoolchildren to have free of charge.
Which all goes to make a very cordial welcome to this county.
Herefordshire is flanked by three English counties,
and rubs shoulders with the Welsh border.
The historic city and county town of Hereford was a border garrison town
against the Welsh. Originally a Saxon settlement,
Hereford dates back to the seventh century.
Its cathedral, being one of the oldest in England, is a real draw,
showcasing some of the finest examples of architecture
from Norman times to the present day,
including the newly restored shrine of St Thomas of Hereford.
Meandering alongside the city is the UK's fifth-largest river.
At 155 miles, the River Wye was the first to be designated
as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in its entirety.
'Away from the riverbank, the rich pastures contribute
'to Nature's table. The world-famous Hereford cattle
'are bred for their high-quality beef,
'and the 350-year-old cider industry is, perhaps surprisingly,
'more industrious than the one in the West Country,
'producing 65 percent of the country's brew.'
With its wide-open spaces and attractive black-and-white villages,
it's no wonder urban escapees see Herefordshire
as the perfect retreat.
But it's not just quaint villages and timber houses
attracting people to this area. A major redevelopment is planned
in 2011 in Hereford, bringing in new business
and fresh investment. So if you're interested in moving to this county,
whatever your budget, there are plenty of properties to choose from.
If you're searching for a handsome period property
in a stunning wooded location, then, this five-bedroom home
in Bush Bank is on the market for £1,350,000.
It's crammed with features, is in tip-top decorative order,
and there's not a neighbour in sight.
If your budget isn't quite so generous,
this four-bedroom cottage in Bishopswood, with its own pool,
is looking for a new owner. On the market for £50 short of 700,000,
this converted farm-worker's cottage has been extended over the years,
and you'll struggle to beat a view like this.
Or finally, if you fancy an old building with a contemporary twist,
how about this three-bedroom country cottage near Bosbury?
With a price tag of £395,000, it's the picture of modernity inside,
and its neutral decor is just waiting for someone to make their mark.
Herefordshire certainly has plenty to offer,
so let's meet today's property shoppers
who are hoping to while away the hours on the Wye.
Lift engineer Danny and nursery-school owner Suzanne
live in Sutton Coldfield, and enjoy regular visits
from their children, Peter and Lucy.
We moved to the house about eight years ago,
and when we just initially looked at the house,
-we just fell in love with it.
-The house has three bedrooms
and a study. We have a good-size kitchen,
a separate dining room, a nice character lounge with beams,
and we had the conservatory put on a few years ago.
It's been a great house, but now the children have flown the nest,
they're ready for a change. To pay for their new life in the country,
they've hit on the idea of owning and running holiday lets.
We thought about doing the holiday lets, really,
because we've got a lodge up in the Lake District,
and we rent that out now, but that's through a company.
We'd like to do it on-site so that we're there.
-And more involved.
-More involved with it,
and obviously have one or two more, as well as the lodge.
So whether we do a barn up, maybe, or stables...
-It gives us income. That's the main thing.
The holiday lodge is transportable,
so the plan is to find a property in an idyllic setting
with enough land for it and for an additional holiday let.
They've had this idea in mind for a couple of years,
so what sort of location would be their top choice?
Hopefully on the edge of a village, with some village amenities,
-shop... He likes to walk for his paper on a Sunday.
-A pub, yes.
-A pub, yeah.
-Just so that we're not too remote.
We want to meet people and be part of a village community.
There are, however, provisos that come with the move.
This kitchen is a good size, but in the next house,
I would really like a big family farmhouse kitchen
with a nice table in the middle so that we can all eat in the kitchen.
The kitchen will be a big deciding factor in our choice of house.
And for green-fingered Suzanne, the outdoor space is critical too.
'Although we love this garden and we've put a lot of plants in,
'we do feel we'd like more acreage now,
'maybe one to two acres, so that we can put the lodge on.'
And I can have a ride-on mower, and we can enjoy life in a new garden, new setting.
Petrol-head Danny needs a garage for his classic car.
With this in mind, what will be on our checklist?
We want some land, double garage for myself.
-Country kitchen for myself.
-Country kitchen for yourself.
Master bedroom with an en suite, hopefully.
-Yeah. Yeah. Er, three to four rooms.
-Three to four bedrooms.
And a study.
Before we head off to Herefordshire, we've called in a local estate agent
to value the house they bought eight years ago for £225,000.
'The property is very attractive, detached family home,
'in a very convenient location, with schools, buses, trains.'
Valuation, I'd expect it to achieve around £375,000.
We're slightly disappointed with the valuation,
but in today's market, I suppose that's what's to be expected.
At least they're being realistic.
Let's see how much money they're putting in the pot for this move.
The budget for our new property will be £650,000.
With a very healthy budget, Danny and Suzanne are looking for a home
with business potential, namely one or two acres.
I really think the key to this search
is finding a good location, something near a tourist attraction that may bring bookings in.
My only worry is that long list of requirements,
which they both seem dead-set on.
Suzanne and Danny are keen to pick up holiday-let trade
from people visiting the Malvern Hills and the Wye Valley,
so we'll focus our search around Ledbury, to the east of the county.
We've got two days to show them a selection of tempting properties
that have made it onto our shortlist, but as ever,
I won't be revealing the price tag straight away.
Finally there'll be the mystery house,
which today will serve up a business proposition
guaranteed to bring home the bacon.
Danny and Suzanne, welcome to Herefordshire!
-Looking forward to the next few days?
-We are truly, yes.
-How well do you know the villages in this area?
We've been down several times, and you've worked in this area.
I like the area cos I've been working down here,
so it's one of the reasons to move. It's a lovely area, picturesque.
Now, your budget - around the 650 mark still?
That's right, yes. Maybe a little bit more.
The climate as it is at the moment, we might look a little higher.
Not only are we looking for a fantastic house for you,
-you also want to have a let business, don't you?
As you've got a lodge already, you'll know there might be planning permissions needed.
-Yes, hoops to jump.
-Absolutely. It's good that you understand that.
So when we're looking, we've also got to bear that in mind.
-I have some great houses for you,
and of course we've got our mystery house,
always that little bit of a surprise for you.
That should be interesting. Thank you.
-Shall we get started?
-Let's hit the road.
So, with a budget of £650,000,
Suzanne and Danny are searching for a house
with three to four bedrooms including a master en suite.
Suzanne has set her heart on a country kitchen,
whilst Danny needs a garage for his classic car.
To provide income, they're looking for a holiday let
or a building they can convert. They also need one to two acres
to accommodate their existing holiday lodge.
They want all of this to be in or near a village,
so they can meet new friends.
Be honest with me - are you two very nervous about this move?
Yes, because it's the unknown, isn't it, really.
-It's the unknown.
-But we're up for a challenge.
-It excites you at the same time?
There is an element of excitement.
What do your son and daughter think about this big move?
-I think they're a bit apprehensive.
-Just like us.
We'll have lovely family weekends, hopefully.
It'll be a completely different area to investigate.
To get the amount of land that Suzanne and Danny are looking for,
our research is showing that we need to look outside villages.
So for our first property, we're heading over to Mathon,
to the west of the Malvern Hills. It's an incredibly rural setting,
but they're not going to feel isolated,
as the village of Colwall is just two miles away,
and has good amenities.
Holiday-let visitors will be able to stock up the fridge,
send their postcards and enjoy a relaxing drink.
If they're feeling energetic, they can follow one of the many footpaths that lead up the hills.
Over in Mathon, we're ready to hit them with house number one.
So, first of all, what do you think of the location?
-Looks very nice.
And this is your property. Built in 2007,
it's a very attractive-looking house, I think.
-It doesn't look brand new.
-No. It's got character
-on the outside, definitely.
-Looking forward to the inside.
-Great. Well, let's get started.
'Although a new build, at two years old,
'this house fits sympathetically into its surroundings.
'But is it what Suzanne and Danny are looking for?'
So, come on in. Danny, I'll leave you to close the door.
-I want to bring you straight in.
-This is my country kitchen.
-Is this what you had in mind?
-Oh, it's got an island as well.
-And a range cooker.
-It's going well!
-Lots of character.
-Yeah. It's lovely.
Do you like the idea of dining in the kitchen?
Ideally we'd like a separate dining room, but that's...
-There isn't, in this property, a separate dining room.
But there's plenty of room for a large enough table.
-You've got a small utility room...
-..and a downstairs cloakroom, which you can look at later on.
-So, let's keep going.
-So, here's your drawing room.
-Oh, got my wood burner.
Oh, right. We can keep warm with that, then.
-Are you partial to those?
-Yes. Nice idea.
-And an inglenook-style fireplace to go with it.
-Put the logs there.
-And you got a stained window.
-That's a nice bit of character.
-It's a good touch, isn't it?
-Brings natural light to the hall.
-It's a good size, isn't it?
Beams are high, and... Very nice.
So, the downstairs is working out quite well.
-So far, yes.
-Good! Well, now we go upstairs,
look at those bedrooms.
'I think that went pretty well,
'and up here there are the four bedrooms they've asked for,
'kicking off with the master.'
-And here it is.
-Oh, that's a good size.
-Bigger than ours.
-Oh, yeah, definitely.
-You got two built-in wardrobes here.
-Views, look, in the morning.
Great views. And there's something else this room has to offer.
Danny, we'll follow you. Take a little peek through that door.
After you, Suzanne.
-There's your en suite.
-That's something we haven't got now.
So, a large master and a decent en suite as well.
So, this is working. Right. Well, let's keep going.
Across the landing is the family bathroom,
which is small, but with an en suite to the master,
what more do you want? Next there are two small double bedrooms
which their children could use when they come to stay,
and that leaves one larger room for weekend guests.
-And here's your fourth bedroom.
-Oh, that's a good size again.
Oh, that's good. It's got a lot of shape to the roof as well.
-And that's nice.
-It's got a slight eave effect.
Yeah, that's it. You're right there, yeah.
-So far, so good.
-Very good. It's got what we need.
But it's crucial to get the outside right for you two,
-with the business venture in mind.
So let's go outside, take a look at the land,
-and look at those options. If you want to follow me downstairs...
'The house seems to have hit the spot,
'and it's certainly big enough for the two of them.
'The bonus ball is that it doesn't need any work.
'Outside there's plenty of space - two and a half acres, to be precise.
'My concern now is finding a home for Danny's classic car.'
So, I want to show you this stable block,
-because there's some options here to consider.
You've got three stables, you've got an office at the end,
and you've got a tack room, so quite a large building.
But you've probably noticed, this property doesn't have a garage.
-So you could potentially convert this
-into a very large double garage.
-Oh, that would be good.
That would be good for your classic cars.
So that could work out quite well. However,
when you're changing a structure, you must get planning permission.
-Even for a garage, so you'd need to look into that.
'Well, that keeps Danny happy.
'As for the holiday-let side of the business,
'I reckon there's plenty of room here for their existing lodge
'with space left over for a couple more.
'And the setting couldn't be better.'
Just look around you, because this is all your land,
literally, all the way round there, to the trees and to the back,
so you've got just under two and a half acres.
-Oh, that's good.
-That's good, two and a half acres.
You could potentially have some properties
over there in the corner, at least the lodge,
-with the right planning permission.
-If that's possible,
-that would be interesting.
-So, enough land?
-I think so, definitely.
Just right, yes. He wants his sit-on mower.
There's certainly enough land for that.
-So, the house hasn't been on the market for too long.
How much do you think the current asking price is?
Um, I would say... Top end of our budget, I would say.
I'd... I'd say 670.
This house, the current asking price
Ooh! Little bit left over to do the necessary work.
It would have to be done,
and obviously the garage would have to be done,
so that gives you a little bit in your budget.
-Some extra there to play with, yeah. That's good, yeah!
-I think you need another wander around.
Explore with that price in your mind.
-And I'll catch up with you in a while.
-Thank you, Nicki.
-Off you go.
What a great start! They seemed really impressed,
loved the location, thought the house really would serve them well.
But the potential is in this land, and they're not disappointed.
At £50 shy of £600,000,
this house could suit Suzanne and Danny's personal and business needs.
It has the large country-style kitchen Suzanne hankers for,
four bedrooms with a master en suite,
a stable block that could be converted into a garage
for Danny's cars, and there's two and a half acres of land
for their holiday lodge, with space for possibly one or two more.
It's a lovely house. The kitchen is absolutely beautiful.
Upstairs, master bedroom is lovely. Again, a good size.
Got the en suite. The only issue would be
that it hasn't got a separate dining room.
I wonder if we could get consent to change these over.
-That might lend themselves better, to convert the stables.
The property has got lots of space to it,
two and a half acres, which is ideal. We can do something with the stables.
We can convert those into the holiday lets. It's versatile.
-Have you both seen enough?
-I have, yes.
-Thank you very much.
-A very good start,
-but I think the weather's going to change, so let's jump in the car before we get wet.
Suzanne and Danny can't wait to start their holiday-let business,
and are eager to check out the local attractions
that may appeal to their guests, so they're venturing out
to one of the county's premiere tourist draws,
Symonds Yat on the banks of the River Wye in the Forest of Dean.
-It's a beautiful area.
-It is. It's lovely.
Even in the rain, it's just as pretty.
At this point of its journey, the river winds its way round a limestone outcrop,
and is the border between Herefordshire in the west
and Gloucestershire in the east.
Symonds Yat village straddles the river,
and the only way to cross right here is by the traditional rope ferry.
-All right, there?
The 250-year-old service carries locals and tourists alike,
and operates throughout the year.
Most people visit this area to enjoy the breathtaking landscape
at Yat Rock, 500 feet above the gorge.
Local guide Wendy Amer is on hand to show them around.
Lovely views. This is looking right over east Herefordshire now.
You're looking at the loop of the river as it comes round Coppet Hill,
and loops back through Symonds Yat here.
And this is all a protected nature reserve,
so it's really unspoilt.
Just a little further up the gorge,
Goodrich Castle stands in a commanding position
overlooking this border territory. It dates back to the 12th century,
and was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War.
This is one of the most complete medieval castles in the country.
It's still got most of its walls and towers.
It's a fascinating place to go round,
cos you can get up onto all the walkways
and have a really good look round it.
Suzanne and Danny will need time to soak up the rich history of this property,
but I'm sure it will be top of their list when recommending days out
for their holiday-let guests.
Next on our list is a house set in very rural Eastnor,
at the southern tip of the spectacular Malvern Hills
but just a mile and a half outside Ledbury.
Having this beautiful historic town on their doorstep
would be a real bonus for Suzanne and Danny,
not just for its amenities but for the tourist trade.
It's a town that seems like it hasn't changed for centuries,
and it is its remarkable beauty and heritage
that draws in the tourists year on year.
I think the setting of this next house couldn't be more beautiful,
and if I was looking for a place to stay,
this could be top of my list.
So, here we have your house.
Originally it was a pumping house, built around 1895.
-Oh, right. So it's got some history.
-It certainly has.
It looks to me more Arts and Crafts than Victorian.
It's got a lot of beautiful character.
It looks beautiful, yes.
The whole setting... I'm really quite excited!
It just looks absolutely magnificent.
-Ready to go?
'What a start! I couldn't ask for more than that.
'Let's hope they find the inside equally impressive.'
-I'll leave you to close the door, Danny.
-Thank you very much.
-Straight into the reception room.
-Oh, isn't that lovely?
Oh, wood burner again.
Oh, that's lovely. It's got nice proportions as well.
It's got a cosy feel to it.
You've also got these beautiful mullioned windows.
Yeah, they're classic, aren't they? Yeah.
I know you like a bit of character, an older property.
-This has got the character.
-And it's light.
-It's not dark, no.
-This is lovely.
-Right. Let's continue.
'Full marks for the lounge, then.
'Across the hall there's a separate dining room
'that was on their wish list,
'which leads on to a gorgeous country-style kitchen
'I am sure Suzanne will fall in love with.'
-Oh, you got this one, yeah.
-Oh, lovely. I'm all excited.
-You've ticked a couple of boxes.
-Oh, and the cooker!
-You've got your range there.
I love the roof-lights.
-Is this an extension?
-This is the extension.
It was done about seven years ago. The kitchen is only two years old.
So you've got practically a brand-new kitchen,
with granite work surfaces, and there's nothing to do.
It's all perfect. Gorgeous. You can just leave me here now.
Music to my ears, but I'm going to take you upstairs,
-because there's more.
-OK. Thank you.
'The kitchen extension really adds to the footprint
'of the ground floor, but the property is a bit smaller upstairs.
'I hope that doesn't dampen their spirits.'
So this is the first of the three bedrooms in this house.
-And it's a good-size room,
-bigger than what we've got at home.
-It is, yes.
I like the beams. They've left the woodwork in
just to give it some character.
And you've got the high ceiling.
I like the window again, the skylight.
-That's so light in there. Can I have a look?
Stick your heads in. Have a little look.
Oh, separate shower. Lovely.
Separate shower's all we want in here, isn't it?
'The character seems to be doing an excellent job
'in compensating for the smaller dimensions up here.
'Their children do get a room each for when they come to stay.
'There's a double and a single, and then there's the family bathroom.'
-Oh, it's a nice high ceiling.
-I like that window.
It's got character as well. It's not a box.
It's got the character for it.
Not only is it a beautiful home,
it has potential outside as well for your business,
-and more. Are you intrigued?
-I am, yes.
-Let's get going!
'Suzanne is definitely taken with this property,
'and outside, there's something for Danny too.'
So, time for the outside now.
-There's your double garage.
-A double garage,
but I want to bring your attention to upstairs.
Oh, right. We got something over the garage.
-What do you think that might be?
-A games room or an office?
Could be a good games room or a good office.
-It could also be a holiday let.
-Oh, right. OK.
'The space above the garage is a ready-made holiday let,
'and, with the bonus of a balcony overlooking the garden,
'it's sure to attract plenty of customers.'
Oh, gosh, that's great. That is really self-contained, isn't it?
You've got a separate entrance away from the rest of the house,
and it's all done. Because we're close to Eastnor Castle,
you get a lot of weddings and functions there,
so the current owners actually let this to a lot of people
-who are going to the castle.
So you could let this out.
You could also put your son or your daughter in here at Christmastime.
-That's a good idea.
-Yes. They can have their own space.
-They could have their own space.
But there is still more to see with this property.
-This is just getting better.
-Danny, you lead the way.
-I'm excited already.
-'What a success!
'With one holiday let ready to go,
'all they need now is space for their existing holiday lodge,
'and there's plenty of it here.'
So, we have plenty of land.
-How much land is there?
-Two and a half acres.
-Wow. Two and a half acres?
-Two and a half acres.
But ahead of us is an Airstream caravan.
It's a static caravan, which is going,
but it gives you an idea of where perhaps
you could put your log cabin and other log cabins,
-or static caravans, around here.
Fantastic. It's just lovely.
So, it's time to think about how much this is on the market for.
This has got to be well over the budget.
-This is difficult.
-It's the land more than anything.
It's perfectly formed, the house, but...
-You go first.
Which really was the very, very top, wasn't it?
I think that's what we're looking at.
-I think probably...
680, 690, something like that.
-Danny, you're closer.
-Oh, that's nice.
-But you're not that close.
-Current asking price...
-Oh, my God!
-Can you just get your chequebook out?
What's going through your mind? Talk to me!
-Try not to cry!
-Oh, my God. No!
-Suzanne, is this the dream?
-I know you're selling your business.
You need to get the next step just right for both of you.
-Is this what you had in mind?
And with something left in the budget.
Oh, you're welling up!
-I'm going to stop you there.
I want you both to go and have another look. Explore everything.
Take as long as you like, and I'll meet you in the grounds.
-We might be a long time.
-You can be.
-See you in a minute.
Well, what can I say? A fantastic reaction -
hopefully everything they've ever dreamed of.
I love delivering good news,
and they certainly got a shock at the price tag,
£150,000 under their budget.
There's a country kitchen that captured Suzanne's heart,
and Danny gets a garage for his classic car.
There's a perfect holiday let ready to go,
all topped off with those two and a half acres,
ideal for the holiday lodge.
It's a beautiful house, and the surroundings are beautiful.
And with the holiday let as well,
and the potential to put a lodge or some other caravans on,
it's just magnificent.
-There you go.
-That's what you wanted.
The proportions of the house are fine,
but the outside area is beautiful. It's ready-made for what we need,
and the price just gives it an extra kick.
That's not included in the sale, I'm afraid.
-That's a shame, isn't it?
-It's a very attractive caravan.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-The good old days.
-I can't drag you two away. Come on.
-No. It's just all too much.
-We're going to have to hit the road.
Think of Herefordshire, and it wouldn't be remiss
to think of cider. But there's one local farmer
who wants the county to be synonymous with another tipple -
vodka, made from a rather ordinary vegetable,
the humble potato.
'Suzanne and Danny's holiday-let guests may be keen
'to taste local products, so I'm going down to the farm
'to meet the chief distiller, Jamie Baxter.'
Tell me, what's so unusual about growing a potato in this county?
It's only started happening relatively recently.
You can see by this lovely heavy clay soil
that we're standing in, it's fantastic for growing potatoes,
but it's difficult to get the machinery on,
and it's only recently that we've got machines
which can cope with the heavy soils.
There's a long history of making potato vodka,
particularly in Poland, for about 250 years,
-but we're the only company in the UK.
-Any potato would make vodka?
-Yeah, any variety, but...
Yeah. This is a nice big potato,
so we use this for making crisps.
The smaller ones, there's not really a use for this.
There's nothing wrong with them. They're clean and wholesome.
So that's what I turn into vodka.
And the very small ones are next year's seed potatoes.
-So nothing goes to waste.
-A meal and a drink,
and future food. Can I try the vodka?
Absolutely. Let's go to the distillery and find some.
Wow, this is an impressive set-up! And it's lovely and warm.
That's all the distilling activities that happen in here.
So, where do the potatoes come in?
The potatoes come in through the wall through there.
They're fermented into a potato wine, which is not particularly nice
to drink on its own, and all this beautiful equipment
is just there to extract the alcohol from the fermentation that happens next door.
Since they started making vodka just a year ago,
they've been producing 3,500 bottles a week.
Once the potatoes are out of the ground,
it's a fast turnaround process.
It's three weeks from field to bottle.
-And is that quite quick for a vodka?
-No, all vodkas are like that.
One of the beauties of it is that you can bottle it as soon as it's made.
It's not like whisky that has to be matured in a barrel for years.
You did promise me a drink. Do you think now's the time?
Let's go upstairs and meet Will. He's got a bottle with him.
-He's the boss.
-So, I've got to have it neat.
I don't think I've ever drunk neat vodka.
So, normally this is going to be ice-cold.
Absolutely. That's my preference,
but if you want to drink it the way the experts do...
Some people rub it between their hands and sniff it,
and they say that's the best way to smell...
-I'll pretend I know what I'm doing.
-It's argued which is the best,
but I think the proof's in the tasting.
It's definitely potatoes. It's the one that makes the best,
-the creamiest, the smoothest vodka.
-Right. Are we ready?
-Smooth, isn't it?
I was about to say, that is really smooth.
-The aftertaste as well. It's...
-Pleasant, very pleasant.
Boys, I'm going to think of Herefordshire in a completely different way.
-Taxi for one.
After a successful first day of property hunting,
and as the afternoon draws to a close,
it's time to ponder over the houses they've seen.
What did you think about the equestrian property?
-The lounge was lovely.
-Did keep a lot of the character.
And it was a new build, but it looked just right in that setting.
Outside we'd have had to do quite a lot.
-We'd have to convert the stables.
-It was a lovely property.
-Very nicely decorated.
-Very nice, yeah.
And the pumping station, that was exceptional, wasn't it?
It was just unbelievable, wasn't it? Soon as you drove down that drive,
it was just... The grounds are amazing,
-and having the let as well...
-Already up and running.
That was perfect. That was very good.
And the house was perfectly formed. Kitchen was a dream.
-You got your perfect kitchen, I think.
I'd like to go back and see that property again.
-It was lovely.
-We'll just have to go a little bit deeper into it.
-Food for thought.
'Suzanne and Danny from Sutton Coldfield want a property
'with holiday-let potential in Herefordshire,
'and have a budget of £650,000, but could stretch it
'for the right place. So far they've seen two houses,
'one of which fits like a glove,
'and, coming up, Danny opens the door to new opportunities.'
Oh, that's good!
For Danny and Suzanne, making the move to the country
isn't just about finding peace and quiet,
it's starting a business and creating a new life for themselves.
Now, yesterday went well. It went really well.
In fact, they both got very emotional.
I thought I saw tears.
So, today, new day, we've got plenty to show them,
and, of course, we've got the mystery property up our sleeve.
I think we're getting very close to finding them
their escape to the country.
For our first offering this morning, we're heading over to Holme Lacy
in the Wye Valley. This region, with its breathtaking scenery,
has long been a popular holiday spot for walkers,
so Suzanne and Danny should have no trouble attracting customers.
Hoarwithy, just six miles away, would be their local village.
It doesn't have too much by way of amenities,
but there is a post office and a couple of pubs
for catching up with local news.
This next property I'm taking them to
sits in a high position, with first-class views,
and has scope for development. The big question is,
are they up for a challenge?
-So, a new day, a new property.
-That looks nice.
-It is. It's a farmer's cottage,
built around the 1700s.
-Loads of character.
-That sounds good.
-And lots of potential,
because it's... It's a different property.
-There's lots to it.
-That sounds interesting.
Let's just step inside.
-You've got this accommodation at the side,
-which is attached to the house.
You've got a beautiful courtyard, which needs a bit of loving care,
but it's stunning. There is so much potential out here,
-you can see just standing.
-The layout looks great.
So, I bet you are intrigued now, aren't you?
-Let's start with the house.
-And we'll go from there.
-Oh, look at this!
Oh, isn't that lovely? Look at that fireplace!
Oh, that's fantastic. That's got character.
I don't think you'll have any problem with space in this house.
I don't think so, looking at this. No way.
I hope you two have got lots of energy.
-Cos there's an awful lot to see.
'This house doesn't look massive from the outside,
'but once inside, it's a very different story.'
Oh, this is nice. I like different levels.
A bit quirky. Oh, look!
-Oh, another one! Another fire!
-And you got a little seat for the window.
-Oh, window seat!
-Oh, it's sweet, isn't it?
-What room would this be?
-Living room. Living room, definitely.
-So, let's show you the kitchen next.
-Oh, that's my bit.
Back up the stairs.
'Suzanne has already found her dream kitchen
'in the last house, so will this one stand a chance?'
More exposed stone, original beams...
-A kitchen with the biggest range...
-Look at that!
..I think I've ever seen. You could have five lots of cakes going
-in that oven.
-Oh, it's fantastic.
Behind you you've got the utility room and downstairs cloakroom.
-Oh, right. That's good.
-But there's also another reception room
-Oh, dining room!
-You could extend your kitchen
-right the way out.
-You could put all cupboards down that one side,
-so literally this is just the cooking bit then.
So, we've seen downstairs. Time to go upstairs.
-So, you've got four bedrooms in total.
-And here is just one of them.
-Oh, there's your beams.
-Oh, that is character.
-It's a good size for a cottage.
'The spacious feeling continues.
'Just next door is one of the two family bathrooms.
'If their children don't fancy spending their weekend visits
'in the first bedroom, they can take their pick
'of the next two double rooms. At the end of the house
'is the second family bathroom, plus a small room
'which is currently used for storage. But let's find the master.'
-It's absolutely beautiful.
-It's got the character.
What you hope for in a cottage.
'I think the inside of the house is scoring well so far.
'Time to head outside and see about some business potential.
'Just down some steps is that self-contained annexe
'that could be used as a holiday let.'
'There are two bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen and a bathroom.
'If they decided to let it out, they would have to gain permission
'from the council.'
Is it already used as holiday lets?
It's not. Although it's set up for it,
they did use to run their business from here,
so this was additional accommodation for people working for them,
so that's why you've got the kitchen and everything.
It just needs a lick of paint and bit of a tidy,
but everything's here.
'This property comes with super views,
'and it all sits in an acre of land -
'enough space to build Danny's garage
'and to accommodate their holiday lodge.'
The garden has been left to run a little wild,
but I'm sure it wouldn't take green-fingered Suzanne long
to turn it into a beautiful English country garden,
complete with an adorable small apple orchard.
So, money time. How much do you think the farmhouse,
the garden, the orchard, and the additional holiday-let accommodation
-is on the market for?
-This is very difficult.
I think about five and a half.
-I think a bit more.
I would say 600.
Let's see who's right. And it is...
bang on the nose, Suzanne.
-Ah, you see!
You've really got a lot to think about now, haven't you?
-Yes, thank you.
Hopefully in a positive way. Have a wander.
I'll see you when you're ready.
Suzanne was spot-on with the price.
At £600,000, this property has a large kitchen
leading into a breakfast room, which they loved,
four bedrooms, a self-contained annexe
that, with the right permissions, could be used as a holiday let,
and an acre of land which would more than accommodate their lodge.
When we walked through that door, the welcoming feel
of that first reception room with the log burner,
that was lovely. Upstairs was really quirky
with all the different rooms and the different corridors.
It's a nice cottage, definitely.
The holiday let will probably have to be re-done out a little bit.
-This could be lovely.
-We'd have to give it a lick of paint.
-Potential's there, certainly.
-But it's interesting.
It's got some character to it, definitely.
-Guys, are you in there?
-I think the owners' children might be taking that with them.
-You both look exhausted.
-We are, actually -
-all that thinking and...
-A lot to ponder.
-And we haven't finished yet.
-Can you keep going?
Moving to the country and starting a new business
is both exciting and daunting for Suzanne and Danny.
So we've arranged for them to meet David and Sue,
the owners of an award-winning holiday-let business,
to find out what has made them such a success.
-It's a beautiful setting.
-Yes, it is.
A lovely setting. We liked it when we first saw it.
-Would you like to come through?
The business includes three properties,
and this semi-moated 15th-century manor house is the largest.
This is the Woodhouse.
You obviously kept a lot of the original features.
-Yes, we tried to.
-It's got so much character.
Do you tend to get people all year round here?
Yes, we do. We're very lucky, because although this isn't...
a very famous holiday destination, it is all year round,
because people come to walk. It's beautiful countryside.
There are sights to visit, there are museums to go to.
It is wonderful any time of the year that you can come.
Success depends on setting yourself apart from competitors,
and that lies in the details.
-Oh, isn't this lovely?
-It's beautiful. Very nice.
This is a replica medieval hanging bed.
It doesn't mean that the bed is hanging,
just that it's got hangings, but they were always suspended
-from the ceiling.
There's plenty of inspiration here for Suzanne and Danny,
but they were also keen to take a peep
at the more modern cottage next door,
which may be closer to their own plans.
It's got a completely different character to the Woodhouse.
-Nice and cosy, though.
-Yes, but it's as well equipped.
Are there any tips that you could give us?
The first thing that we would recommend
is to find a good location. It is a beautiful county,
so you should manage that. The second thing is, go for quality -
five stars if you possibly can.
Get a good website designer to build you a really good website,
and make sure you have a credit-card machine
which can take credit or debit cards.
Now they've had a brief introduction into the holiday-let business,
they're ready to go. That just leaves us the challenge
of finding them a property that excites and inspires them.
-Good luck with your enterprise.
Bye, now. Bye.
It's time now for the mystery property, and as you can see,
they're all desperate for accommodation here in Herefordshire.
Now, the mystery house - well, it has so many bedrooms,
I think I've found somewhere for all these girls to sleep!
So, our final journey is to Hanley Swan,
just over the border into Worcestershire,
and on the eastern side of the Malvern Hills.
It's the first time we've been able to show them a house in a village,
which is what they hanker for, and I think this is just the sort of place they had in mind.
Here they'll be able to immerse themselves in village life,
where the pub, post office and church are the crossroads of the community.
It's been tricky finding a property in a village
with the amount of land they need, so for our mystery house,
we're putting the holiday-let business aside
in order to get them the favoured village location.
So, here is the mystery house.
-All of it?
-All of it.
-That looks impressive.
-It's very impressive.
It also has eight bedrooms.
The reason this house has been picked for you
is to look at something different, and that is a B&B
-as earning potential.
-Ready to start the tour?
'As ever with the mystery house, we're heading in a new direction.
'But will the desired village location be enough to persuade them
'to go down the bed-and-breakfast route?'
So, come on in. How's this for a hallway?
That side is for the B&B,
and the whole of this side is a private residence.
-Oh, that's nice, then.
-So, for anyone staying here,
this is the only part of the private house they go into.
Then they go through there, not to be seen again until they check out.
-Oh, that sounds right.
-And pay, obviously.
-So, let's do the private part of the house first.
So, here's the main sort of drawing room.
-Oh, that's nice. Excellent size.
-Good size, yeah.
-It's a lovely marble fireplace, isn't it?
Let's see where Danny's going to be working,
-because I know he's going to be busy with this B&B.
'It might not be what Danny had in mind with this move,
'but, as with any B&B business,
'there's the all-important utility room
'with the downstairs cloakroom next door.
'And when he's finished feeding the washing machine,
'he could help Suzanne feed the guests from the kitchen,
'which I think is rather lovely.'
So, imagine, between 7:00 and 9:00 AM,
-pans going, food all out...
-Could we not do late breakfasts?
You could do, yeah. Weekends.
I think it would be very late breakfasts.
-I'm not too good in the morning.
I'm really not.
-But you'd have to be organised if you were providing breakfast.
You've got a serving hatch as well.
Does that go through to a dining room, then?
Have to wait and see. Have to wait and see!
We've still got a lot more to do with this house.
'I'm finding it difficult to gauge what they're feeling
'about this proposition, so at this point it could go either way.
'We're heading upstairs to look at the bedrooms
'in the private part of the house.'
So, this side of the property has five bedrooms.
Very grand. Five for us?
Five for you.
-This would obviously be your room.
-It would, yes.
-And it's got an en suite.
-Has it got a shower?
-Come and have a look.
-Let's have a look.
-Oh, very nice.
-It's a very nice en suite.
-Oh, double basin! That's nice.
-Yeah, that's nice.
-Plenty of wardrobe space as well.
-So, big enough?
-Yes. For my clothes, yes.
-Let's keep going!
'The other three bedrooms on this floor
'are all generous doubles, so there's plenty of room
'for the kids to spread out when they visit mum and dad
'for the weekend. And there's a family bathroom on this level too.
'That's not all. More surprises await upstairs.
'The attic has a lounge, a study, and the final bedroom
'in this private side of the house.'
-Oh, that's good.
-Look at all this!
-And round there as well. Brilliant!
You would never think this was here.
No, this is really nice and tucked away.
So, you see, your side of the property is pretty substantial,
-don't you think?
-So let's see now where the B&Bs would be.
-Right. After you.
'So, their sprawling quarters with five bedrooms
'gets top marks. Will the business side of this property
'score so highly? There's only one way to find out.'
Through here is where your B&B guests would eat...
-That's nice and bright.
-..so you do have a dining room.
-It's a good-size room.
-And, Danny, your serving hatch,
which you might be very familiar with if you take this on,
is just there. Do you want to go and take a look?
Oh, right. That's where it all comes through.
THEY LAUGH Oh, that's good.
-Pass it all through.
-And you don't even have to be seen by your guests
-first thing in the morning.
-I think that might be best.
-Let's put it back.
-OK. I think so.
This room is the communal living room, sitting room, for your guests.
-That's nice. They're not stuck in their rooms.
They've got somewhere they can come and read, watch television.
Let's show you one of the bedrooms down here, which is en suite.
Gives you an idea of the standard of the rooms,
-which I think is very high.
-You don't normally get this size.
I've stayed in hotels that aren't as nice as this.
-Not as nice as this.
-Very generous bathroom next door.
And is this a five-star accommodation?
-This is five star.
-You're keeping this going, aren't you?
-Is it working overtime?
But it is... It's all done.
'In addition, there are two more guest bedrooms upstairs
'that are finished to the same high standard,
'and, we're told, the business is healthy,
'with plenty of bookings for the coming months.
'All I have to show them now is the outside space
'at the back of the house.'
-Oh. No garden.
-No garden, I'm afraid.
-That's my little area.
-When I finish my bacon and eggs,
where's my garden?
I don't know whether hanging baskets and pots would satisfy me,
-cos that is my interest, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
I love to be in the garden, and it's my release, really. It's lovely.
'Suzanne might be disappointed with the courtyard,
'but there is a lawned garden at the front of the house.'
So, before I ask you how much you think this property is worth,
-would you like to know what revenue the business takes?
-That would help.
She only has B&B about 50, 60 percent of the year.
Right. That's what we would do.
Her turnover is between £30,000 and £40,000 a year.
-Wow, that's pretty good, isn't it?
Because obviously, if we did a B&B,
then, Danny wouldn't be able to do his present job,
because he's going to have to serve the bacon and eggs, isn't he,
-through his hatch.
-All hands to the pump, yes.
-Through your hatch.
-Through the hatch.
THEY LAUGH That's a bad look.
So, how much do you think this house is currently on the market for?
I think about 650, actually.
With that income and stuff, I think it's worth about 650, actually.
OK. Current asking price
-Oh. Between the two, then.
-I thought so, yeah.
-I thought that, yeah.
-I know you're disappointed,
but at least it's got you thinking about the merits of a B&B.
So go and have a wander, and I'll meet you in a little while.
-Lovely. Thank you.
-OK. Thank you.
At £625,000, this wonderful house is within budget,
and offers a thriving ongoing business
Suzanne and Danny could pick up and run with straight away.
The property is in a village, which was high on their wish list,
has a large kitchen / diner which went down a treat,
offers eight bedrooms,
including three dedicated to the B&B business.
But will the lack of land and the small garden be the deal-breaker?
The size, the Georgian look, was lovely.
All the rooms were spot-on, five star.
Kitchen, fabulous. The bedrooms were good.
And then unfortunately we went outside,
which was, to me, a big disappointment.
I mean, that part is absolutely beautiful.
The rooms are perfect.
But it's just this bit, and that's not a compromise,
-No. Not for you, anyway.
The mystery property is lovely.
The rooms are perfect. We've never been interested in B&B,
but seeing what we've got here has made it more interesting,
and perhaps something to think about in the future.
-Have you both seen enough?
-Yes. It's beautiful.
Let's go somewhere quiet where you can have a think
and consider all the properties you've seen.
Suzanne and Danny have seen a real mix of properties,
offering some interesting business propositions.
All they need to do now is work out their priorities.
It's time for Danny and Suzanne to make some choices.
It's not often I say this,
but I think I know which house they'll choose.
Let's see if I'm right.
-Are your minds whirring?
-Very much so.
The cogs are going round, and we just...
We've seen some beautiful properties.
-Well, we started off with that equestrian new build.
What did you think about that property?
It was a lovely build, lovely character in there.
-The kitchen was beautiful.
-The lounge was a good size.
But the land, although there was a lot of land there...
-It was slightly inclined.
-And to make it into a pretty garden
-would have been a lot of work.
-And then we saw the old pump house.
Yeah. That was special. That was fantastic.
-The grounds were perfect.
-And there was room for the lodge,
or maybe even two. We could do so much with the land.
It just lends itself to what we want, really.
In one way, if we went for that house,
we would be compromising in some way for the house,
but the grounds were just perfect.
We saw an 18th-century farmhouse with outbuildings,
substantial land. What were your first impressions
when you saw that?
That was the cottage that we thought that we would want.
It was such a solid cottage. It was just unbelievable,
with two-foot thick walls,
-and you was up and down...
-That's what I liked.
A bit of quirkiness, with the steps down,
and all the corridors upstairs. You just felt...
Although it was only four-bedroomed, it just seemed huge.
-It was a TARDIS, yeah.
-And that was just the farmhouse.
-That was the farmhouse.
-What about all that land?
-You've got the holiday let.
-That was already done.
-It needed quite a bit of work...
-Some work to it.
Lastly we saw the mystery house.
That was immaculate. High ceilings...
-The kitchen was lovely.
Again, a bit like a TARDIS upstairs, but that's what we like,
because it was all secret little rooms, and it was lovely.
You've got the potential for lettings there,
-and that would be interesting.
-Then you took us outside,
and then it all went downhill. I really, really like my garden.
That's my release, and that's my hobby.
-That would have been a big compromise for you.
-Too much so.
Um, so unfortunately I think that was definitely a no-no,
but because you've taken us to a B&B,
-that has given us another option.
-So, it's crunch time,
although I think I might have a good inkling
as to which property you loved the most.
Would it be fair to say the old pump house?
-I think so.
-You got it on the nail there.
-We'd like to go back and see that.
-We'll have to look at that again.
It is a beautiful house. It was well under your budget.
-That gives us the lot.
-It gives you pennies to spend,
perhaps to make those adjustments, make it perfect for you
-and your business.
-And it's a beautiful area.
Thanks to you we've seen a lot more, and it's been a fantastic few days,
I'm so pleased. I really, really am. I wish you the best of luck,
and I hope you can make that property work for you,
-because I think you could be very, very happy there.
-I think so.
-And you must come and stay.
-I would love to.
-We won't charge.
Finding the right property and a business can be quite tricky,
but for Danny and Suzanne, I think we might have cracked it.
As soon as they saw the old pumping station
with all that land, they both fell in love with it,
and I think it's only going to be a matter of time
before they put an offer in. If so, we wish them all the very best.
Join us again next time for Escape To The Country.
I'm delighted to tell you that, after a second viewing,
Suzanne and Danny have had their offer accepted
on the house near Eastnor, and are looking forward to moving in as soon as possible.
If you want to escape to the country
in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England,
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