Norfolk Escape to the Country


Norfolk

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Today I'm surrounded by some of the largest protected wetland

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in Britain, a unique network of lakes and rivers

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that makes up almost 200 miles of stunning waterways,

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so join me as I navigate my escape to the country.

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Today we're helping a couple swap the suburbs for semi-retirement in the country.

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Oh, my goodness. This is a dream kitchen, isn't it?

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-We've got character homes aplenty.

-I'm speechless!

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You are, aren't you?

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And today's mystery house has real potential, but will they be up to the challenge?

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Hmm.

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Today I'm in Norfolk, and this is Wroxham, the gateway to the famous Norfolk Broads.

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The interesting thing about these waterways is that they were actually carved out by man.

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Back in the Middle Ages, this area was used to dig for peat, which was used for fuel.

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400 years of digging later, the sea levels rose and these rivers and lakes were created.

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Of course, nowadays, they're much more used for pleasure-boating, and Norfolk attracts a huge amount

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of tourists and a rich diversity of wildlife, which does make Norfolk

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a priceless jewel in the UK's environmental crown.

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Jutting out into the North Sea at the top of East Anglia, Norfolk is

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the UK's fourth largest county, but it's also one of the most untouched rural areas in England,

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with 96 per cent of the landscape given over to farming.

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If a slower pace of life is on the agenda, Norfolk is the place to be.

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It doesn't even have a motorway, but what it does have is 90 miles of stunning coastline,

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650 pretty villages, miles of marshland,

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50 nature reserves and, of course, the beautiful Broads,

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a haven for wildlife fanatics, bird-watchers and boaties alike.

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But if a life afloat isn't your thing, rest assured there are plenty of homes to be found on dry land.

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Norfolk is renowned for its traditional stone and flint cottages, but architecture comes in

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all shapes and sizes, from windmills to waterside properties.

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Well, if you're looking for some peace and quiet, then Norfolk could be the county for you.

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The average age here is 42, which does makes its population the second oldest anywhere in the UK

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and it is a top destination for retirement.

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Now, fortunately for the prospective pensioners here, the property prices really aren't that high.

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The average detached property will set you back about £211,000

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and, temptingly, that is 10 per cent below the national average.

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So is Norfolk tempting you?

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Well, take a look at some of these properties that are on the market right now.

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If you've had a windfall and have £2.3 million to spare,

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how about this five-bedroomed stone and brick house in Brancaster Staithe?

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It's a substantial property with a country kitchen and two large character reception rooms,

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but the real stand-out has to be the stunning views out over the marshes to the sea.

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For £650,000, you could be horsing around in this four-bedroomed

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converted barn with equestrian facilities near King's Lynn.

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Completed four years ago, the barn comes with character finishings

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and plenty of space with two reception rooms and a bespoke kitchen.

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Outside, there are seven acres in all, including paddocks and stable blocks.

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But if it's a room with a view you're after,

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how about this four-bedroomed Grade-2 listed lighthouse in Hunstanton?

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On the market for £395,000, it may need some work to transform it from its current holiday-let status,

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but you'd be the proud owner of a unique piece of Norfolk's history.

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Well, I hope Norfolk's got your attention,

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and if you enjoyed looking at those properties, don't worry, we have plenty more Norfolk gems coming up.

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But first, let's meet our buyers.

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Today's escapees, Kerry and Denise, have been married for 28 years and,

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for 20 of those, have lived in the same house in Southampton.

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Now their two daughters have flown the nest, they've decided to follow suit

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and have their hearts set on semi-retirement in the country.

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We really would like to move to Norfolk.

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It obviously gives us that opportunity of moving to a very,

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very rural area compared to perhaps the south of England.

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It's the Mecca or one of the main bird-watching centres of this country.

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Very important to us.

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It's a big hobby of ours.

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It's close to the Broads as well, and we have an interest in sailing

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and we're very interested in taking that up again.

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In fact, Kerry and Denise are so desperate to embark on their new life of leisure,

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they've already sold their house and are renting a three-bedroomed semi just 100 yards from their old home.

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But they have very clear ideas about their countryside escape.

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We're looking for a period house, a character house, with a minimum of three bedrooms.

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The kind of features that we're looking for are a log-burning stove... we're looking for somewhere

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that's got a few beams, but sort of not too many beams to make it dark -

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a cottagey kind of feel, I think, aren't we, really?

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Well, Norfolk isn't short of cottages, so what criteria will help narrow the property search?

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I retired from the police over two years ago now and I started up a gardening and landscaping business.

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I've got so much equipment, so I do desperately need some outbuildings at the new house.

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I'd love a workshop as well if that was possible.

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Although this kitchen is quite spacious with a lot of cupboard space, we would like a kitchen

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that's a little bit bigger in our new property in order to entertain family and friends.

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But for gardener Kerry, the outside space will be key.

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We're in a rental house at the moment, and the garden is pretty small, and we're looking

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for a considerably larger garden, particularly so that Denise has somewhere to grow her fruit and veg.

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We'd really like an orchard if possible, but we'll have to wait and see.

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Being cash buyers, Kerry and Denise are in an excellent position

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to move fast, but how much do they want to spend on their dream home?

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The final budget for our property, if it ticks all the boxes, would be £415,000.

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Aren't they gorgeous?

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We've brought them birds, we have the boat, now all we need is the perfect property.

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We need to fulfil that wish list for Denise and Kerry because this is an exciting property search.

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They have the cash and they're ready to go, and all we need to do is find the right property. And what is that?

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Well, it's got to be a period property with lots of history and character.

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They want a big kitchen and a large garden.

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So...if Lady Luck is smiling down on us,

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then maybe they'll have their perfect home by the end of the programme.

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Fingers crossed.

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Since Kerry and Denise want easy access to both the coast

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and the Broads, we'll be focusing today's search in the countryside to the north and east of Norwich.

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In today's show, we've lined up three beautiful character homes for them

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to view but, as always, I'll be keeping mum on the price tags until they've had a good look round.

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And the last of the three, the Mystery House, has tons of potential in more ways than one.

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Picked a lovely day to be by the seaside!

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-It's a bit chilly!

-Bit bracing!

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A little bit chilly, but some people are out there enjoying it.

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Lovely Norfolk - great choice for a county, but why have you chosen it?

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Because of all the things to do.

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It's the bird-watching, the Broads are very appealing and also

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somewhere that's a bit quieter, rural, for a change of lifestyle.

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-A big change of lifestyle, isn't it?

-Yeah, certainly.

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You retired recently and have now got a gardening business, and this will be retirement for you.

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-Semi-retirement.

-Yeah, we want to keep ourselves busy,

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and that's the reason, if we're going to buy a country cottage, or property should I say,

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we want to live here because there is so much more to do than perhaps some of the other rural areas.

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And you've got a pretty decent budget. Let's talk money.

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£415,000 for the house, but we can go up to 450 if there's an extra.

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Yeah, if there is perhaps an annexe, the possibility of a small bed and breakfast facility, it would

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give us an income, so that would help us in our semi-retirement.

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The best thing about this property search, though, is that you're cash buyers. Brilliant.

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Sold your property a while ago, been in rented accommodation for

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-nine months - you must be dying to buy a property.

-We are!

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-Itching.

-Itching?

-Itching, yeah.

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Well, let's not wait any longer. Let's just get on with it. Let's go.

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So we have two budgets to work with today - £415,000 for just a house

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or up to £450,000 if there's income potential.

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Not up for negotiation is the kind of property they want -

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Plus some storage and a workshop for Kerry.

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For our first property, we're heading to Melton Constable.

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At just eight miles from the north coast

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and 18 miles to the beginning of the Broads, it's a great location,

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and its rural setting should be spot on too.

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But it hasn't always been this way.

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In the 1880s, Melton Constable was the hub of the Norfolk railway network,

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and the village was built to accommodate the workers.

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The railway is long gone, and today the village has slipped back into sleepiness,

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with a population of just 500 people.

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Our property is situated just a few minutes away

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on the estate of Burgh Parva Hall, the smallest hamlet in Norfolk.

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This is the property I want to show you.

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-It's...

-Absolutely grand.

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..quite amazing.

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It dates back to the 18th century, start of the 18th century.

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I think, once you see inside it, there aren't many changes you'd want to make.

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-Shall we go and find out?

-Yeah.

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This Grade II listed period house was in fact the dairy to the manor.

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Converted in the 1980s, the sympathetic restoration packs a massive character punch.

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Come straight through into here...

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Oh, wow!

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-..and have a look at this.

-I'm speechless!

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You are, aren't you?

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There's certainly a lot to take in in this room, isn't there?

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An incredible amount, absolutely incredible.

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It's so imposing. The fireplace is just amazing.

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Isn't it just? It's huge, to start off with.

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Then you've got, as you've noticed, the flagstone floor.

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-It's a lot to take in.

-Very much so.

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I don't think I could take this in quickly at all!

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Well, if you think this room has got you, I think the geography of this house is going to take a little

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while to take in altogether, and there's so much to see,

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so let's have a look around all these rooms, get your take on it.

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-What do you think?

-It...it follows on

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from the last room. It's got some incredible features.

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-That wall, the brick wall with the wood, is just phenomenal. And the beams.

-It's just unique.

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It reeks of historical content.

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Well, you did put down character on your wish list and we've gone for it!

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It has it in abundance, and more, actually.

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Well, even the layout of this house is characterful.

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There are five split levels.

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On the first landing, there's a double bedroom and family bathroom,

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and a quirky little room currently being used as a study.

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So we've actually only come up half a flight of stairs. We're up a little hill, really.

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It's a useful addition, yeah. I'd make it into a potting room possibly.

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Mmm, interesting idea.

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This house is full of surprises, and I've got another one for you.

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I did say this house had a unique layout.

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Bit more space down here

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into...well, it could be a wine cellar.

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-Lots of bottles in here at the moment.

-Unexpected!

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Different types, but I could soon change that,

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I'm sure. But, yeah, that is quite spectacular, isn't it?

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I think it can only be used as a wine cellar, really, unless you want a hidey-hole somewhere!

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-Sounds pretty good to me.

-I tell you what. Why don't you keep the wine out here?

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Always good to have a few bottles handy.

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And we've got somewhere behind here for you to keep busy.

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A lot more space back here.

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Well, this looks like the workshop already.

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I can just spot the light chink down the side of that door, so obviously that leads outside, so that's ideal.

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A good escape route either way.

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-Exactly.

-Good space for your tools.

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Yeah, tools. I mean...

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Great. We've found a space for the tools.

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Let's find that living room.

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OK.

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To find that somewhere for Kerry and Denise to relax, we have to head up to the first floor proper.

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So, on this level,

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to our right we've got the mezzanine above the kitchen, which is being

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-used as a library, and through here...is the living room.

-Oh, wow.

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Ah.

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You can see why they're using this as the living room, can't you?

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-Yeah.

-Lovely views. This is south-facing, that's east-facing, so a lot of light coming in.

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Quite a cosy room, but it could be a bedroom equally, and that's what it was previously.

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Oh, I think it lends itself to a...certainly a sitting room.

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I like that you're starting to see how you'd use this house, though.

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There's a lot here and it really does lend itself to you putting your own mark on it.

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And guess what - we're not finished with this house!

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-There's more?

-There is yet another level.

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Up again, out there.

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OK.

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I think this house is charming the socks off these two,

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and I'm very glad they don't have an aversion to stairs!

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The final floor of this property, and it is all dedicated to the master bedroom.

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Wow, this is some space, isn't it?

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That is absolutely... That's fantastic, I think.

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Really, really fantastic.

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It's got a modern slant on it, it's bright and airy.

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And you've got an en-suite behind you which is rather big.

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Right. That makes a difference.

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So you've got all of it there. But it would be nice to give your guests a nice view as well.

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-One of your daughters?

-This is too special.

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This is definitely the master room.

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Too special for the children!

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And this house keeps on giving, as outside there's a separate annexe.

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This used to be the game room for hanging up the pheasants after the hunt,

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and now it's what we call the annexe. Fourth bedroom...

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-Oh, my goodness.

-And potential...

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It's not the hugest of rooms, but potential to be used as a self-contained little let because

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you've got the bathroom there, obviously sleeping space, and it is all set out to put

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a little kitchenette here, so it's all plumbed in.

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Oh, right, everything's there.

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It's very much self-contained, as you say, so...

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-Potential.

-Yeah, it certainly has.

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-Surprise. I hadn't got a clue!

-I did say surprise.

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I hadn't got a clue what this building was going to be.

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So the annexe could work, but what about the all-important outside space?

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I know Kerry and Denise want a large garden, and although this one is under a quarter of an acre,

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it's so enchanting with a couple of different landscaped areas, I'm hoping it won't disappoint.

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Well, here is your garden.

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This is, er,

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very different but then, probably

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in line with the house, it is different. It's very special.

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It's sort of that cottage-garden feel.

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Obviously, one thing we do want to do is to grow some vegetables and perhaps some herbs. Um, is there...?

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Well, just behind that wall is a little kitchen garden so you can grow your vegetables there,

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-and there's even a shed.

-That's ideal, isn't it?

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And for bird-lovers, a garden like this really does attract a lot of bird life.

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-Yeah.

-Actually, if you turn around, you get a better view of that beautiful Dutch, crow-stepped gable.

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-Stunning feature.

-Yeah.

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Stunning feature, interesting house.

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Could be yours, but for how much?

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It's your turn.

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435?

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I would probably go a bit more.

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Um...465.

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-465? A bit higher, a lot higher, over your budget.

-Yes.

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Hmm, you are surprisingly good at this. It's on the market at £435,000.

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Spot on.

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-Yes!

-But what do you think?

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With a bit of negotiation, it would be possible, I suspect.

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And I think with the annexe as well, the potential there, I think that's worth considering.

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-Yes.

-It has been on the market for a year, so there's certainly room for manoeuvre, and

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interesting that you're thinking about that annexe.

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So maybe you need to have a wander round and think a bit more about that,

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and then tell me what you've come up with.

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-Will do.

-All right? Have a go.

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A lot to take in in, isn't there? I think they're

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going to take a bit more time before they can really assess whether this could be a property for them.

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At £435,000, the old dairy is £15,000 under their top budget,

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and the annexe could earn around £6,000 per year

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if they let it out for the national average of 22 weeks.

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The house itself comes complete with cosy character dimensions but plenty of space.

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It's a very unique home, though, so will they be able to see themselves living here?

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When I first walked in, I was totally overwhelmed and speechless.

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It's so different from anything that I've seen before.

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Now I've had a bit of time, with a bit of work and a bit of...

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personalisation, I think it could actually work.

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Hello! Kerry, Denise, have you got lost?

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-Nearly!

-I know it's huge.

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Bit of a labyrinth, isn't it?

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-Very.

-But time to come away from houses, because one of the reasons

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you're coming to this part of the country is to be near the water.

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-Yeah, definitely.

-I think it's about time we found you a boat.

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-Excellent.

-Goodness!

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As keen sailors, Kerry and Denise have owned boats in the past, but once they make the move

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to Norfolk will definitely want a permanent mooring on the Broads.

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So I'm introducing them to yacht-broker Chris Cooper

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to see if there's anything that might tempt them.

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You've got an amazing array of boats here. Can we take a look?

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-Yeah, come and see what we've got.

-This is sexy.

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It's a little bit big for me.

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-What is it?

-This is a sports cruiser with an open-cockpit style, really stylish boat to use on the river.

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Very stylish, isn't it?

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-Expensive?

-About £20,000.

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Mmm. The sort of boat you'd be into?

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Perhaps a little bit too big for us, yeah. We're looking for something a bit more modest.

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Ah. It doesn't look very traditional to me, not what I'd imagine cruising up and down the Broads in.

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It's quite a modern style of boat.

0:19:370:19:38

Over here we've got some more traditional boats.

0:19:380:19:40

Right, let's have a look at this one, then. What makes this more of a classic Norfolk Broads boat?

0:19:400:19:44

Well, it's all on one level, about five berth in accommodation, go everywhere on the Broads.

0:19:440:19:48

It's a very practical boat for the river.

0:19:480:19:50

But what sort of costs for keeping that, mooring that?

0:19:500:19:54

Mooring's likely to cost you about £1,000 a year.

0:19:540:19:57

-OK.

-Is it easy to get a mooring?

0:19:570:19:59

-Yeah, not a problem at all.

-Well, is this one for you?

0:19:590:20:04

-Don't think so.

-It looks like finding the right boat can be as problematic

0:20:040:20:08

as finding the perfect house.

0:20:080:20:09

So something for the guys, then, Chris?

0:20:090:20:12

Yeah, absolutely. This is a little CF21 with a little inboard diesel engine, probably more your style.

0:20:120:20:17

-That's exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of, yeah.

-Can we take this for a spin, then?

0:20:170:20:21

-Yeah, sure. We can take you out, but we better put you in some life jackets.

-OK.

0:20:210:20:25

If they decide they like it, this boat will set Denise and Kerry back £11,000.

0:20:250:20:31

On top of that, they'd have to stump up the annual Broads toll which, for a vessel of this size,

0:20:310:20:36

would be approximately £120, and register their boat with the Broads Authority.

0:20:360:20:42

What a fantastic sound, that engine. That one piston.

0:20:420:20:44

Pure magic?

0:20:440:20:46

Magic, yeah. Gotta get out there quickly.

0:20:460:20:50

With 125 miles of inland waterways, getting afloat really is the best way

0:20:520:20:56

to take in the Broads' full beauty,

0:20:560:20:59

and with nearly two million visitors setting sail each year, there's only

0:20:590:21:03

one speed you can go here - very, very slowly.

0:21:030:21:08

Six miles per hour is in fact the max.

0:21:080:21:12

This has got to be the life, hasn't it?

0:21:120:21:13

It seems pretty good to me.

0:21:130:21:16

I feel really comfortable here.

0:21:160:21:17

And it just makes me think it's something to do.

0:21:170:21:21

With semi-retirement, there's got to be always something to do and this has got to be a major part of that.

0:21:210:21:26

What a combination.

0:21:260:21:28

Kerry and Denise can indulge both of their hobbies at the same time -

0:21:280:21:32

boating and bird-watching - and it certainly seems to have Kerry sold.

0:21:320:21:36

As the sun sets over the Norfolk countryside, day one of our property search is at an end.

0:21:410:21:47

Kerry and Denise are looking so semi-retire in north-east Norfolk

0:21:470:21:52

so they can indulge in their hobbies of bird-watching and sailing.

0:21:520:21:56

They want a character house close to the Broads and coast,

0:21:560:21:59

but can't decide whether it's just a home or a business too.

0:21:590:22:02

So far, they have viewed one property, but there's plenty more to come.

0:22:020:22:07

This is the ideal house for us. It's just beautiful.

0:22:070:22:10

And today's Mystery House is definitely the business, but will they want to put the work in?

0:22:100:22:15

Yeah, it needs some cosmetic surgery, I think.

0:22:150:22:20

It's the start of day two. The sun has come out, yet

0:22:230:22:26

I am none the wiser as to exactly what Kerry and Denise are looking for.

0:22:260:22:31

I think it's time to explore just how serious they are about running a business...

0:22:310:22:36

because both of today's properties have income potential.

0:22:360:22:40

For our first offering of the day, we're heading to the Broads village of Coltishall.

0:22:400:22:44

Located on the banks of the River Bure for 250 years,

0:22:460:22:49

Coltishall was the centre of the malting industry and shipbuilding yards.

0:22:490:22:53

Today, the only river trade is pleasure-boating

0:22:530:22:57

and the village marks the start of the navigable portion of the river.

0:22:570:23:01

The moorings are home to a pub and some enviable waterside properties,

0:23:010:23:04

but we're heading to the heart of the residential part of the village, a mile up the road.

0:23:040:23:10

The property I want to show you is on this road, so it's not

0:23:120:23:15

quite a quiet rural location but the house really does make up for it,

0:23:150:23:20

and here it is.

0:23:200:23:22

-Wow!

-It's a very large property.

0:23:220:23:25

Isn't it just?

0:23:250:23:27

It's pretty.

0:23:270:23:28

It's a very pretty, stunning house.

0:23:280:23:31

-Come in. Let's go through and have a better look at it.

-It's large.

0:23:310:23:35

It is. I love the symmetry of the facade.

0:23:350:23:37

Yeah, beautiful, classic Georgian property - the symmetry,

0:23:370:23:41

the big windows, getting smaller as you go up three storeys.

0:23:410:23:45

There's a lot of house in there.

0:23:450:23:46

-Excited?

-Yes, very!

0:23:460:23:49

Renovated in 2007, this Grade II listed former school certainly

0:23:490:23:54

can't be described as cottagey, so I'm really pleased to see they like this rather stately home.

0:23:540:23:59

-In you come.

-Wow, look at this floor.

0:24:040:24:07

Isn't it gorgeous? The first thing that greets you. A great hallway.

0:24:070:24:10

Yes, it is.

0:24:100:24:12

Come on through here because this is the first reception room, currently being used as a dining room.

0:24:120:24:19

This is lovely as well.

0:24:190:24:21

You're going to love this house.

0:24:210:24:23

-I can feel it.

-Spacious, light...

0:24:230:24:25

They've also opened up some of the features. Over there is a very big fireplace, not in working order at

0:24:250:24:31

-the moment, but you could open up the flues if you wanted to.

-Yeah.

0:24:310:24:34

Let's go to the living room where the fireplace is working. That way.

0:24:340:24:39

Symmetry means you have another lovely room.

0:24:390:24:41

Ah, that's better, actually.

0:24:410:24:42

I like the smaller size, and perfectly formed.

0:24:420:24:45

Lovely cosy room. I love it.

0:24:450:24:48

Could you imagine yourselves in it?

0:24:480:24:50

Oh, yes.

0:24:500:24:52

I certainly really like the style, really like the style of the house.

0:24:520:24:56

There's sort of mixtures of Victorian and Georgian, but that's great.

0:24:560:24:59

That's the history of the house and it's interesting.

0:24:590:25:01

Well, I think Denise's smile says it all, but she's also been hankering

0:25:030:25:07

after a big kitchen-diner and at the end of the hall is just the thing.

0:25:070:25:10

Oh, my goodness! This is a dream kitchen, isn't it?

0:25:140:25:18

Spacious, room to eat, lovely.

0:25:180:25:21

Light, airy...

0:25:210:25:24

I've just noticed the sink too!

0:25:240:25:26

A huge butler sink. It's a kind of interesting mix, isn't it?

0:25:260:25:30

We've got this sort of modern kitchen but they've kept some period features in it.

0:25:300:25:34

They've included a larder to allow them space not to have cupboards all

0:25:340:25:37

round the wall, and it makes it so much lighter and more open.

0:25:370:25:41

-It does.

-They've done a good job.

0:25:410:25:43

-An excellent job, and something you could move right into, fit your lifestyle in?

-Oh, yes.

0:25:430:25:47

-Or change your lifestyle, really!

-It would be a change. That's good.

0:25:470:25:51

Now let's look at the other levels cos I think we've done well on the

0:25:510:25:54

ground floor, but this property just keeps on going up, so after you.

0:25:540:25:59

I'd say that's a definite thumbs-up for the downstairs,

0:25:590:26:03

but we have a lot of ground to cover with three floors.

0:26:030:26:07

On the first floor are three bedrooms - two doubles, one of which

0:26:070:26:10

is used as a study - a modern family bathroom and a huge master bedroom.

0:26:100:26:16

Gosh, this is big.

0:26:210:26:23

This is such a good-sized room! Delightful.

0:26:230:26:27

And very light as well with the double windows there. Again, superb.

0:26:270:26:31

Space for a huge bed which we need!

0:26:310:26:35

And through there, it's currently a walk-in wardrobe which goes right the way along the length

0:26:350:26:39

of this room but it's all plumbed up, ready to be a bathroom if you wanted to turn it into an en-suite.

0:26:390:26:45

So if it was just cut off here, would this be a perfect house?

0:26:450:26:49

The actual house itself, yes.

0:26:490:26:51

This is the ideal house for us. It's just beautiful and we've always wanted a house like this.

0:26:510:26:57

That's the answer I was looking for, because upstairs are more bedrooms which could

0:26:570:27:02

be used for B&B accommodation if Kerry and Denise decide that's the route they want to go down.

0:27:020:27:08

Now, up here we're of course in the area which used to be the dormitory, and the current owners have now

0:27:080:27:14

turned it into a bedroom, bathroom and another bedroom over here, so let's go through to this one.

0:27:140:27:22

My thoughts are that you've got two good-sized rooms.

0:27:220:27:26

They're pretty much the same on either side.

0:27:260:27:29

That is larger than expected.

0:27:290:27:30

-You're right. This would make a good B&B, wouldn't it?

-Wouldn't it?

0:27:300:27:34

-Yes.

-Is it something you would consider?

0:27:340:27:36

Yeah, it could be done and it is in a good location for that and being close to the road is not a negative.

0:27:360:27:42

-Actually a benefit.

-It's a benefit in that respect, as long as you've got the parking at the rear.

0:27:420:27:46

Have you got the appetite for it, Denise?

0:27:460:27:48

Oh, I think so, yes, yes.

0:27:480:27:50

I need to have something to do.

0:27:500:27:52

So what we need now, then, is a decent garden.

0:27:520:27:54

-That would be good.

-Let's find it.

0:27:540:27:56

The indoor space is obviously working for them but, at one-sixth

0:27:580:28:01

of an acre, the garden isn't huge which I know could be a problem.

0:28:010:28:05

Fingers crossed they'll keep an open mind.

0:28:050:28:08

Kerry, for you, over here we've got these outbuildings which are really...

0:28:110:28:15

I think they were toilets, but I think you could turn those into a workshop.

0:28:150:28:18

I suppose they were outside toilets once upon a time.

0:28:180:28:21

Yeah, once upon a time. And then up here, you've got this...well, a bit of a blank canvas, really.

0:28:210:28:27

It's a lawn, you've got a little shed, but is it enough space, even if you were thinking about the B&B?

0:28:270:28:32

I think it's a balance, isn't it?

0:28:320:28:34

If we're going to be busy in a B&B, you're not going to have as much time to play in the garden, so...yeah.

0:28:340:28:40

Yeah, I think...I think, you know, that you could make it work.

0:28:400:28:43

I think it's time to talk money.

0:28:430:28:45

It's a very big property. I would've thought sort of 545.

0:28:450:28:49

I'm not sure, really.

0:28:490:28:51

It is a large property. 555?

0:28:510:28:55

555. Ooh!

0:28:550:28:58

-Well, I think you're going to be delighted, then, because it's on the market at £450,000.

-Oh, my gosh.

0:28:580:29:05

450? It's a lot of house for 450,000.

0:29:050:29:08

A lot of house, it's a great location and you can afford it.

0:29:080:29:12

Yeah. So that puts the pressure on.

0:29:120:29:15

-Yeah, it does.

-It does.

0:29:150:29:17

-It certainly does.

-Very much, yes. That is quite a shock, actually.

0:29:170:29:19

It's a lot of house for that money.

0:29:190:29:21

-Hmm... I think that's now going to give you a lot to think about.

-Yeah.

-Yeah?

0:29:210:29:26

-Start thinking.

-Undoubtedly.

0:29:260:29:28

Wander round, think about that B&B, what you might do, and I will find you a bit later on

0:29:280:29:32

and see what conclusion you've come to.

0:29:320:29:34

Well, we caught Kerry out that time, didn't we?

0:29:360:29:38

That was 100 grand over. Would we do something like that?

0:29:380:29:41

The point is they can afford this and this could really change their lives.

0:29:410:29:46

With an asking price of £450,000, this comes in bang on the

0:29:460:29:51

house-with-a-business budget, and it's a lot of property to the pound.

0:29:510:29:55

This is definitely our style of living - the openness of the

0:30:060:30:12

kitchen, the ability to sit here with friends whilst you're cooking.

0:30:120:30:16

I think we would have a little bit of a concern

0:30:160:30:19

that we might rattle round but, if we were to live here, then I think we would make a go of it.

0:30:190:30:25

I know you've always dreamed about living in a house like this.

0:30:250:30:28

Yeah, it's the proportions and I love the tall...the

0:30:280:30:33

high ceilings and the whole feeling of a house like this, and I always thought this would be the sort of

0:30:330:30:38

family house that I would've liked, and I've just got that dilemma now whether it's...now we're not

0:30:380:30:42

with the family, whether or not there is that need.

0:30:420:30:47

-Hello, Denise?

-Ah, you caught me!

0:30:470:30:49

You were so long rambling around that house that I was enjoying the sunshine.

0:30:490:30:54

There was a lot to see, and there's more, so let's keep moving. I'll wake myself up.

0:30:540:30:59

Well, it's Mystery House time and everything has been a surprise to

0:31:050:31:09

Kerry and Denise so far, so what have we got in store for them?

0:31:090:31:12

Well, it's not a chapel and it's not a windmill, but it is a challenge.

0:31:120:31:20

All will be revealed soon as the Mystery House isn't far away.

0:31:200:31:23

It's on the outskirts of the historic market town of Aylsham, just ten miles from the coast

0:31:230:31:28

and the Broads, so it should be ideal for Kerry and Denise.

0:31:280:31:32

Although Saxon in origin, it was lord of the manor John of Gaunt

0:31:320:31:36

that put Aylsham firmly on the map as a commercial centre in the 1300s.

0:31:360:31:41

Fast-forward to the 21st century and there's nothing homogenous about Aylsham's high streets as, in 2004,

0:31:410:31:48

the residents joined an alliance of British towns, pledging to turn their noses up at branded retailers.

0:31:480:31:55

This olde-world charm combined with a great location makes it hugely attractive to both home-buyers and

0:31:550:32:01

tourists, the latter being a vital ingredient for our final property.

0:32:010:32:08

All right, Mystery House, and that means it's time to

0:32:080:32:11

-challenge you two, really push the boundaries and see how serious you are about running a business.

-Right.

0:32:110:32:19

-OK.

-But before we get there, let's talk about the house...because this is it.

0:32:190:32:24

-It's a very large cottage!

-Yeah!

0:32:240:32:27

A large cottage. It actually dates back to pre-Tudor times. There's a timber frame under there.

0:32:270:32:33

-Oh, right.

-Mmm, and of course, as well as the gorgeous house, this is

0:32:330:32:36

a Mystery House for a reason, and this property is all about

0:32:360:32:39

the business, which is over here - three lovely little holiday lets or cottages, all set up.

0:32:390:32:46

It's a going concern with goodwill and an annual income of around about £24,000-£26,000...

0:32:460:32:52

-That's very good.

-OK.

-..which is a decent business.

-Yeah.

0:32:520:32:55

Most importantly, it's separate from the property, so you've got your property here, the business

0:32:550:32:59

on the side, and you don't have to take them both, so that's something to bear in mind when we're going in.

0:32:590:33:04

-OK.

-You could just take the house, you could take the house and the property,

0:33:040:33:09

or there's a third way, because the owners are very flexible.

0:33:090:33:11

You could rent this business.

0:33:110:33:13

-I'm itching to go inside to see what it's like.

-Well, that's good.

0:33:130:33:15

-That's the right attitude and I think it'll help we go and have a look at one of the rooms.

-Yeah.

0:33:150:33:20

This is very much a house of two halves, but we're going to start off with the business.

0:33:200:33:26

This is an example of one of the rooms.

0:33:260:33:28

In fact they're family rooms, so you can see double bed,

0:33:280:33:30

space for the children, all kitted out with the en-suite.

0:33:300:33:34

Good to go. Double occupancy, they're going at £60 a night at the moment, single £38.

0:33:340:33:40

Pricing's done, the business is there, you can just get up and run.

0:33:400:33:45

Excellent, yeah. Well, that's a good size.

0:33:450:33:48

There's also an en-suite twin room and en-suite double, and both are charged at £60 per night.

0:33:480:33:54

Well, Kerry and Denise don't seem terrified by the proposition

0:33:540:33:57

so let's continue with the B&B's catering facilities.

0:33:570:34:01

-So this is the breakfast room to go with your lovely holiday lets.

-That's very spacious, isn't it?

0:34:010:34:08

It's nice having the individual tables as well.

0:34:090:34:11

It's perfectly done, isn't it?

0:34:110:34:13

-All set out. Is this something you've even considered, like taking on an up-and-running business?

-No.

0:34:130:34:19

-No, it's not. No, not at all.

-No.

0:34:190:34:21

We thought we'd set one up ourselves, you know, just a small B&B, but this is quite extensive, really, isn't it?

0:34:210:34:26

Well, we do like to up the stakes with the Mystery House.

0:34:260:34:29

Let's see if the rest will give them food for thought.

0:34:290:34:33

Straight into...

0:34:330:34:36

-a nice cosy country kitchen.

-This is a good-size working kitchen. Oh, my gosh!

0:34:360:34:41

-That's cracking, isn't it?

-You could cook a few fried eggs on there, couldn't you?

0:34:410:34:45

Very adequate.

0:34:450:34:47

-Adequate but, er...?

-Yeah, I suppose it depends which use...

0:34:470:34:51

If it's just for the house, absolutely fine.

0:34:510:34:53

You could put a table in there but you might not have that if

0:34:530:34:55

you're going to use it for a working kitchen for the bed-and-breakfast.

0:34:550:34:59

You might want it uncluttered.

0:34:590:35:00

-You might want another option?

-Yes.

0:35:000:35:02

Come this way.

0:35:020:35:04

Well, there's a lot more, another kitchen in fact, and even better, if

0:35:040:35:08

Kerry and Denise decide they don't want the business, both kitchens are included in the sale of the house,

0:35:080:35:13

and there's planning permission already in place to combine the two.

0:35:130:35:16

And here we are.

0:35:180:35:20

That's a surprise.

0:35:200:35:21

That is a surprise. This is a lot more modern, isn't it?

0:35:210:35:24

-Yeah.

-And fresh-looking.

0:35:240:35:26

A bit more of a country-style kitchen.

0:35:260:35:28

Yes, I could see myself working in here, making bread and jam and whatever.

0:35:280:35:33

I like the sound of that. That's good. Let's keep exploring.

0:35:330:35:36

Right.

0:35:360:35:37

The rest of the house isn't as modern, so it could do with a bit of TLC.

0:35:390:35:42

On this level, there's a family bathroom, and a good-sized office,

0:35:420:35:47

which Kerry and Denise could use however they please.

0:35:470:35:50

So what do you think of the living room?

0:35:500:35:53

-It's a big room.

-Mm-hmm?

0:35:530:35:55

Um...

0:35:550:35:57

Mmm.

0:35:570:35:59

Oh, my word. This is the first time we've rendered Kerry speechless.

0:35:590:36:04

I got an "mmm". Mmm.

0:36:040:36:06

Yeah, it needs some cosmetic surgery, I think.

0:36:060:36:11

Taking away the cosmetics, this is a good-sized room and it retains some of that history.

0:36:110:36:17

Once you take away the panelling, you've got a fireplace there, which is a feature that you wanted.

0:36:170:36:22

That's actually not bad.

0:36:220:36:24

So diplomatic.

0:36:240:36:26

This could be a great venture if they could just get past the decor.

0:36:260:36:30

Hopefully they'll be able to appreciate the possibilities upstairs.

0:36:300:36:36

This is one of the bedrooms but I think it starts to show off the

0:36:360:36:39

-potential of this house in terms of room size.

-Massive, isn't it?

0:36:390:36:43

-Absolutely massive.

-It is, huge.

0:36:430:36:45

And...you really get to start to appreciate the views from up here.

0:36:450:36:48

You get a feel of the age of it as well with the floor sort of sloping down.

0:36:480:36:55

-Shall we keep going?

-OK.

-This house isn't lacking in character or space.

0:36:550:37:00

There are two further double bedrooms

0:37:000:37:01

and the upstairs bathroom.

0:37:010:37:03

But in here is what's currently being used as the master bedroom.

0:37:030:37:09

Probably the lightest room.

0:37:090:37:11

-Yes, it is.

-Yes, it's good with the double aspect.

0:37:110:37:14

And it's more in proportion for a bedroom size, I think.

0:37:140:37:16

So, as a master, do you think actually this is what you would

0:37:160:37:20

keep as the master if you were living here?

0:37:200:37:22

Or would try and do something with that big room?

0:37:220:37:24

Truthfully, the building's quite confusing

0:37:240:37:28

and there's no way I could even sort of work that out at the moment.

0:37:280:37:31

You'd have to sit down and really think about it.

0:37:310:37:33

-I tell you something I think you're going to love about this house.

-OK.

0:37:330:37:36

The outside. The garden. Let's go and have a look.

0:37:360:37:38

I know Kerry's been hankering after a huge garden and, with

0:37:380:37:42

around two acres, I think this one might come up smelling of roses.

0:37:420:37:48

-Garden.

-I love the walled area.

0:37:480:37:50

-Ah!

-Yes, I think that's lovely.

0:37:500:37:52

It contains it for me quite nicely, and I

0:37:520:37:56

can see this area being a veg patch, and the rest of the garden being...

0:37:560:38:01

I could see more coming on.

0:38:010:38:03

This isn't it, is it?

0:38:030:38:05

Come on! Well, there's no pulling the wool over Kerry's eyes.

0:38:050:38:09

Yes, there's a whole other garden.

0:38:090:38:12

You were right. There's so much more back here.

0:38:120:38:15

Oh, that's a good area, well screened off by some really mature shrubs and trees.

0:38:150:38:21

And what a house it is.

0:38:210:38:24

It is quite a big structure, isn't it?

0:38:240:38:27

It looks even bigger from out here than perhaps from inside. It's pretty impressive.

0:38:270:38:32

So...money, finally. There's a lot to consider here.

0:38:320:38:36

I want you to give me a price for all of it, but I'll give you a clue.

0:38:360:38:39

The business will set you back 100 grand, just about. What do you think this one's worth?

0:38:390:38:45

535, with the business.

0:38:450:38:49

-OK.

-I would say 495.

0:38:490:38:53

-Da-da-da da-da-da da, tchoo!

-Well done.

-Yes! One for Denise.

0:38:530:38:59

-You're absolutely right. That is the price, 495, all included.

-Right.

0:38:590:39:03

So, yes, it goes over your budget, but it has been on the market for about a year,

0:39:030:39:09

and there's a lot that needs doing,

0:39:090:39:12

and you don't have to have the business. If you don't have that,

0:39:120:39:14

it's just under £400,000 for the house.

0:39:140:39:16

OK, go and have a little wander round on your own

0:39:160:39:19

without me following you, and have a think about it.

0:39:190:39:22

-Will do.

-All right, see you in a bit.

0:39:220:39:24

Well, I'm not sure if our Mystery House has overwhelmed or underwhelmed.

0:39:240:39:29

As a house and business, it is over budget at £495,000.

0:39:290:39:34

The farmhouse does need some work but will it be a project that Kerry and Denise want to take on,

0:39:470:39:53

with or without the business?

0:39:530:39:56

My fear is that, yeah, we could run the business but, actually,

0:39:560:40:02

is that what we set out to do?

0:40:020:40:04

Did we set out to take on a business that's probably going to end up running us?

0:40:040:40:07

The inside of the house I felt needed an awful lot of work doing

0:40:070:40:12

and I'm not sure, with perhaps the business and the garden, we're up to it.

0:40:120:40:18

It's just too big a project, not only in looking after the

0:40:180:40:23

bed and breakfast, but also in getting the house up together and the garden up together.

0:40:230:40:28

-Hiya.

-So much to think about, huh?

0:40:300:40:33

Let's go find somewhere for you to sit down, have a cup of tea or something and mull it all over.

0:40:330:40:37

OK.

0:40:370:40:39

Big discussions going on over there.

0:40:450:40:47

It is decision time.

0:40:470:40:49

We have given them a lot of surprises on this journey, but now

0:40:490:40:52

it's time to find out if there's yet another twist in this Norfolk tale.

0:40:520:40:57

There were some quite serious discussions going on with you two.

0:41:030:41:07

The quirky manor house - that was an impressive building, wasn't it?

0:41:070:41:12

Very. Very. Very awe-inspiring.

0:41:120:41:13

Slightly overwhelming for us.

0:41:130:41:16

The more we were there, the more you got used to it, but then we got into the cellar, into the basement.

0:41:160:41:20

That was really exciting and the tool room. Yes, we really liked that.

0:41:200:41:24

You liked the tool room? I think what you liked the most was the garden.

0:41:240:41:28

-We probably did, yes.

-It was stunning.

0:41:280:41:32

So let's talk about the Georgian house and how you felt about that.

0:41:320:41:36

-That was our kind of living.

-Plenty of scope up on the second floor for

0:41:360:41:41

perhaps a B&B or there might be some issues, but it's probably workable.

0:41:410:41:46

Workable enough for you to want to do it?

0:41:460:41:48

That's another question.

0:41:480:41:51

But the Mystery House really pushed the boat on the "running the business" idea, didn't it?

0:41:510:41:56

It was a beautiful property from the outside and the garden was extensive.

0:41:560:41:59

It was going to be a business, full stop, and was going

0:41:590:42:03

to actually overtake our lifestyle, so we would say no to that.

0:42:030:42:10

It's certainly narrowed our field down into what we now know we want,

0:42:100:42:17

and that's a little cottage, quite a big garden.

0:42:170:42:20

That, for me, has been a real learning curve.

0:42:200:42:24

I think it's just confirmed our idea of what we both, I think, want.

0:42:240:42:28

So that said, given what we've shown you, anything that

0:42:280:42:32

potentially sparks your interest, you might go back and see?

0:42:320:42:35

I think the most interesting house

0:42:350:42:38

-was the manor house.

-The one with the stairs!

0:42:380:42:41

And I think we probably need to go and look at the local area and see what it offers.

0:42:430:42:50

It was certainly a very interesting house.

0:42:500:42:52

It's been a great experience with you, and I've enjoyed being on the learning curve.

0:42:520:42:56

It's been a bit of a learning roller-coaster at times!

0:42:560:43:00

And let us know how you get on, and hopefully it's not too long before you make that move. Thank you.

0:43:000:43:04

-Thank you very much.

-It's been great.

0:43:040:43:06

It's been a real adventure navigating our way through

0:43:100:43:13

the property market in Norfolk with Kerry and Denise.

0:43:130:43:16

A shame, yes, that we didn't find them their dream home, but I have

0:43:160:43:20

a feeling they are a step closer to making their escape to the country.

0:43:200:43:24

I'll see you next time.

0:43:240:43:26

If you'd like to escape to the country and would like our help, please apply online at...

0:43:260:43:31

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:440:43:47

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:470:43:50

Denise Nurse helps a couple swap the suburbs of Southampton for semi-retirement in North Norfolk. With a top budget of £450,000, they want a period property with lots of character and a minimum of three bedrooms. A spacious kitchen and a big garden are a must, plus some storage and a workshop.


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