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Believe it or not, I'm standing quite literally on the edge of nowhere. Intrigued?
Find out more in a moment when we Escape to the Country.
This week I'll be helping an animal-loving couple find their perfect pad in the country.
And our search for that fantasy island seems never-ending.
-There is room for an island.
-You could fit an island perfectly.
You could fit a continent in here, young lady!
But will they land more than they bargained for with the mystery house?
This week we are in Norfolk, and this area of marshland used to
be, according to the 19th century directories, known as Nowhere.
Where, for hundreds of years, local residents would come to pan
not for gold but for salt, which they used to preserve their food.
However, in 1862, Nowhere was formerly incorporated
into the local parish of Acle and now no longer appears on the map.
Norfolk in East Anglia is the fifth largest county in England,
looking out over the North Sea.
Its landscape may be flat but it's no less beautiful for that,
with 100 miles of sweeping coastline
offering up stunning white sandy beaches and quiet seaside towns.
And from the shores emerged one of Britain's most famous seafarers,
Admiral Lord Nelson, who was born and schooled here.
But he wasn't the only water lover.
Two million visitors a year flock to the Norfolk Broads, the UK's largest
protected wetland, to soak up its wildlife and expansive views from the comfort of their pleasure boats.
On firmer ground, Norfolk is home to a host of historic buildings,
from its 650 medieval churches through to its royal residence, the spectacular Sandringham estate.
And there are plenty of rural hideaways to tempt any escapee,
from the traditional flint cottages to detached period homes.
From Rule Britannia to Cool Britannia,
Norfolk is on the up as, despite being the butt of many
comedians' jokes over the years,
the county is on a new charm offensive, championing itself
not only as a great holiday location
but as a world-class business destination, too.
And there are some first-rate properties
to be found in the county, and here are a few currently on the market.
For a cool £1 million, this Grade 2 listed six-bedroom manor house
in Linwood still has period features
stretching back to the 1600s in its magnificent reception rooms.
The more modern garden room is very much in keeping and has delightful sunny views over the lawns outside.
£525,000 would land you this four-bedroomed barn conversion near Bungay.
With walls replaced by full-length windows, the property makes the most of natural light.
The kitchen diner is a hub for entertaining and there's
an alfresco option with the patio, which all the rooms lead out to.
And for just shy of £300,000, this quirky 1950s three bedroom cottage in Barton Turf features a modernised
kitchen and comfortable dining in the recently added conservatory
which overlooks the private rear garden.
We have searched high and low to find the very best properties here in Norfolk.
All that's missing is this week's house hunters.
Let me introduce you to Carol and Philip.
Philip, who is a fireman, and Carol, have lived and their three bedroom
semi-detached house in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, for nine years.
Phil works in London but will be retiring in a couple of years, so they've decided that now
is the time to put down some roots in rural Norfolk.
And it doesn't sound like they're going to be lonely.
We like adopting animals that need looking after, and we think we'll
be able to do that better if we move to a larger property, bigger garden,
and we can then sort of adopt as many animals as we want to, and look after them and give them a good home.
Another good reason is that Norfolk is only a couple of hours away and,
we have three children and two grandchildren,
and we still want to be part of their lives.
So far Carol and Phil haven't been prepared to compromise.
This is probably going to be our final move and we want to make sure that the property that we get is
perfect, so we have a quite demanding wish-list for you to look at.
That sounds ominous! So what kind of property are they looking for?
It must be detached, it must be in a rural location, three or four bedrooms
with a good-sized lounge, good-sized kitchen and a nice, big garden.
And there are some other important considerations.
I would really love a big kitchen with a big range cooker and a big
island in the centre so that we can cook together and entertain together.
Moving to Norfolk would mean a complete lifestyle change for Carol and I.
Within the next two years I'll be retiring, I'll have a lot more time on my hands for interesting
activities such as boating, horse riding, long walks
with the dogs and hopefully trips to the seaside.
I'm a great animal lover and I'd love to adopt more dogs and cats, but also I'm worried about
the plight of the battery hens that need adopting at the moment,
and one of my passions would be to get some from a battery farm
and give them a good home for the rest of their lives.
Are there any special features they are after?
A unique feature, I think, that I would like in the new property would be an inglenook fireplace.
I think it would be lovely curling up on a winter's evening in front of a wood burner, wouldn't it?
Very nice, yeah. We've seen a couple of barn conversions on our travels,
and I particularly like the character of those properties with the vaulted ceilings and the beams.
And we may have another resident to consider if Carol gets her way.
I'm quite keen on adopting a donkey as well, but I've got to...
got to convince Phil of this.
Yeah, I'm very keen to adopt a donkey as well, but if I let you
have a free rein, we'd have London Zoo down here,
so I do have to rein you in a little bit.
Carol and Phil already have their house on the market for just shy of £350,000.
So with that in mind, what's the budget for their new house in Norfolk?
Our budget for our move is £350,000.
We're after a period detached property with a good-sized kitchen and open fireplaces.
Outside, we need enough land for Carol to adopt a whole menagerie of animals in need of some TLC,
but I think a paddock for the donkeys may be pushing it.
Although Norfolk is affordable, finding a detached country property
with land and on their budget, well, it's a big ask.
The couple want to be close enough to London for Phil to commute
to work and for Carol to continue looking after their grandchildren.
So with transport links in mind, our house search will radiate out
from Norwich, from where countryside is just a short drive away.
I'll be showing Carol and Phil some fabulous properties which I hope
fit the bill, but I won't be revealing the price of each until they've had a guess first.
And, as always, I'll be serving up a mystery property to challenge everything they thought they wanted.
-Hi, guys. Welcome to Norfolk.
So, first things first, your house is on the market in Potters Bar.
-How's that progressing?
-Yeah, slow but sure.
We've had a couple of second viewings.
-So we'll be keeping our fingers crossed on that front?
Now, budgets, remind me what your budget is?
Budget is £350,000.
And is there any flexibility on that at all?
There's a little flexibility upwards. We could possibly go to 375.
Now, Carol, you don't want to be too far away from your grandchildren, about two hours max?
-And, Phil, you still need to commute into London for a few more years.
-I would do, yes.
-So why Norfolk?
Basically, because it's closer to the family.
We did look at another couple of places, we looked at Cornwall
and we looked at the Lake District, but they are really too far away.
But Norfolk is a beautiful county, we've come here quite a lot of times and we love it.
And it's easier to get back to the grandchildren.
We're very much into nature and conservation of things like that,
and there's wildlife sanctuaries to look at,
so that's another good reason.
Because it does sound like you're going to have your own sanctuary.
How many animals do you want to re-home?
We will do our best...
It's up for discussion.
Discussion and negotiation?
It is, yes. Carol will have the zoo and I'll have to balance that down a little bit.
Well, I was worried whether we are trying to find you a property or Noah's Ark!
We've already got Noah's Ark at home.
Is it a new Noah's Ark in Norwich?
Yes, yes. I mean, obviously we will have our rescue animals
that we've got at the moment and bring those with us, and hopefully taking on a few more.
Well, we do have some great properties lined up and, of course, the mystery property.
-So are you ready to get started?
-Very much so, very excited.
Carol and Phil have set us a budget of £350,000 but could stretch
to £375,000 for the perfect property.
And even they admit they've got a demanding wish-list, which includes:
And enough land so they can re-home their rescue animals,
including space for hens and, ideally, a donkey.
So with this big move, and I know you love your horses, your ponies,
your donkeys, but, Phil, you want to take up horse riding?
Yes definitely, Nicki.
It's not something that I've done before,
but it is definitely something that I'm looking forward to giving a go.
Well, I'm impressed. I horse ride - badly, I have to say - but I'm very impressed.
You're never too old but it's a long way down when you come off.
It is a long way down, especially for me.
And perhaps you can give me some tips on what to do.
Hang on tightly, that would be it!
Hang on and be nice to your horse!
Our first property takes us eight miles outside Norwich to
the popular village of Coltishall, often dubbed the Gateway to the Broads.
Besides its thatched cottage, built using a distinctive knapped flint, the village has
some traditional shops and there are some eye-catching period properties dotted about.
So let's see if the style of our first house gets the thumbs-up from our couple.
-Come on through, Carol and Phil.
-Because here is your first property.
It's a barn conversion, and I know a barn conversion was high up on the wish-list.
It was, yeah, very much so, yes.
-So this barn dates back to the 1850s, it was only converted about 25 years ago.
It's got an awful lot of character.
It's got a lot of character. I like the mixture of the brickwork and the flint.
-So are you ready to take a look inside?
-Yes, very much so.
-Let's start with our first property.
Phil and Carol may find they have to compromise on something,
but let's see what their first reactions are to inside. In we come.
-Oh, that's nice!
And you've got a downstairs cloakroom.
OK. Always handy for guests.
It's good for your guests.
And Carol, I know you said you wanted a big kitchen.
Try this for size.
Oh, wow! Look at that!
Yeah, the size of the kitchen is exactly what we're after.
The butler sink is lovely, I've always wanted one of those,
so that's lovely as well, and the work surfaces are beautiful.
-It looks nice.
-And they've done the windowsill as well, in the granite.
I know you wanted an island in an ideal world.
I reckon you could fit one there quite nicely.
You could fit an island in there perfectly
and it would be very useful for working around that area.
But there would be no problem.
-And have you seen the range?
-And then you've got your dining area here.
When you look from the outside it looks so small as if nothing's been done inside.
And then you come in, it's like a little TARDIS.
I just hope you're not too disappointed on the size of the next room.
Just teasing, Phil - I think they'll both be awestruck when they see the lounge.
How is this for living space?
-Look at the fireplace!
The fireplace is fantastic!
Now, you've got to guess what this was used for during the Second World War.
Would it have been some kind of
Oh, nice, but no, actually.
This was the cinema during the war.
And then just after that they used it for tea dances and barn dances.
-Oh, my word!
-So this really was the heart of the community here.
So it has got huge character.
-Hasn't it just?!
-Let's have a better look down here.
Lovely. Oh, wow, look!
It is a huge space.
It is a very big space.
And you've got access to the patio as well.
For the barbecues!
Wonderful. Well, when the children come and stay they're going to need somewhere to sleep.
-So let's look at those four bedrooms.
Well, it's been a very positive reaction to the quirky but spacious downstairs rooms.
So fingers crossed for upstairs as we explore the bedrooms.
So here is the master bedroom.
A bit smaller than the room we've just come from, yes.
It's hard not to compare, but you're not going to get those dimensions up here.
-You can see the potential that's there.
And the master en suite is a real bonus,
with corner bath and separate shower cubicle.
Just down the landing there's the family bathroom,
a small room currently set up as a study and a light, bright double room.
The two further bedrooms are tucked away on the top floor -
one a single, which would be good for the grandchildren, but will take a look at the fourth bedroom.
-This is a big room, isn't it?
-It is a big room considering it's in the roof, basically.
-In the eaves, yes.
-And it's got a good high ceiling again.
Yep, good high ceiling.
But not so much space outside, unfortunately.
That might have to be the compromise.
-Let's take a look at the garden and the patio?
Definitely have a look at that, yes.
Well, Carol and Phil seem to like the house.
There is certainly enough space and they seem happy to put their own mark on the interior.
But the space outside is what we need to tackle now.
So here's your garden.
It's separated into three areas, you've got your formal garden there, patio for entertaining here,
-and then off-street parking for two cars behind us.
No. Not very much land at all for animals.
You look really disappointed, it's breaking my heart!
It's a shame, because the house is so beautiful.
So how much do you think this barn would cost you?
It's quite a difficult one, I think it's going to be...
Not much change out of 370, I don't think.
I think it might be a little bit lower, but not a lot.
You'd actually get £45,000 change from your budget,
the asking price is £329,950.
My word! 329.
It's certainly something to consider.
Pop back into the barn, have another look around, and I'll catch up with you in a minute.
Lovely, thank you.
Under budget at just shy of £330,000, this property does have a lot going for it,
This is a good-sized bedroom.
Very good-sized bedroom, all the bedrooms are a good size.
Yeah, plenty of room for when the kids come down and stay.
Yep, plenty of room. The garden was a little bit small
for our requirements, but the actual property itself had loads of character.
This is a great space, isn't it?
It is a great space.
Oh, playing chess, are we?
I would offer you a game, but we've got plenty more to see.
-Are you ready to keep going?
Although Carol and Phil want to find a home in the Norfolk countryside,
they are eager to explore the city of Norwich before making their move.
Much of Norwich's rich history still survives today, and with 31 medieval
churches still standing within its city walls, it boasts being the most complete medieval city in Britain.
From the 14th century the city prospered on the back of the wool trade.
Even now the city's vibrant market is open for business
six days a week, and it is where Phil and Carol are meeting town guide Christina Lister,
who is going to take them to the very heart of Norwich's historic centre.
Among the city's 1500 listed buildings is this inn,
which dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest building
still standing on Norwich's oldest surviving street.
Elm Hill is one of my favourite streets in Norwich.
It's a beautiful, cobbled medieval street with lots of charm and lots of history.
It is beautiful. Who is responsible for building the street?
Well, it was a very affluent street in its heyday,
lots of merchants and civic dignitaries like the city's mayors
and sheriffs lived here, as well as craftsmen who thrived on
having the River Wensum parallel
to the street, which is obviously very handy for unloading wares and so on.
And it's survived, so the street you see today is pretty much
what it looked like in the 16th century.
Close by, Norwich's beautiful Norman cathedral is celebrated as one of the finest examples of Romanesque
architecture in Europe, housing the largest cloisters in England.
Ahead of us is the beautiful cathedral spire,
which is the second tallest cathedral spire in the UK, closely behind Salisbury Cathedral.
Well, Phil and Carol can enjoy the spoils of this impressive city when
they move - if they have the time with so many animals to look after!
We're going 12 miles outside of Norwich for our next property, to the Broadland village of
Swanton Abbott, which still holds on to its Norfolk charm with its flint church and local pub.
The village is packed with pretty cottages,
and I don't think Phil and Carol will be disappointed when they see this one.
Here is your cottage.
-OK. That's not too shabby.
-I think we could live with that.
-It is big and it looks lovely.
-Isn't it lovely?
Well, I say "It's your cottage",
but originally it was two cottages dating back well over 200 years.
And then they think around a hundred years ago,
one side was extended, a bit was put in the middle.
And then 20 years ago, it was made into one property.
-OK. It is big and it looks lovely.
-Isn't it lovely?
-Yeah. And all the plants and the shrubs set it off perfectly.
I don't think you're going to be disappointed with what's inside.
'We are definitely off to a great start with this character cottage.
'Let's hope the inside has the same wow factor for Carol and Phil.'
-From the hallway I want to bring you straight into the sitting room.
A bit smaller than it looks from the outside.
Looks enormous from the outside, so...
yeah, a little bit smaller than I thought.
So it's a snug feel. It isn't the biggest of rooms.
Yeah. It is a very nice room, but a lot smaller than I was expecting.
One positive about it is that the lounge does overlook the garden.
The garden is very impressive. To be able to sit in here at night
and look out onto the garden is a plus point.
So do you think this room is workable with your eye, decoration?
You could do something with it.
It depends what the rest of the house is like.
-Let's see what you think. I'm going to take you next door now.
'And hopefully size won't be an issue in here.'
-So here's your kitchen at the back of the property.
-How are we doing for beams?
Yeah, it's a close call, but I think I can make it
and walk upright in here.
So it's... It's not too bad.
It is quite a big space cos it's long rather than wide.
And you've got the dining table there.
I don't think you'd get your island in here.
I don't think there's enough room for an island.
You wouldn't get an island, but what you do have behind me
is a huge walk-in pantry, a walk-through pantry,
into a huge utility room.
Then through that door you've actually got a downstairs bathroom.
So you've got a free-standing bath, huge shower - it's massive actually.
-I want to take you through to the dining room.
'I think this will be a great room for their family get-togethers.'
So this room is used as a dining room. But it's pretty big.
It is a very big dining room, yes.
With the kitchen just being a kitchen and not a kitchen/diner,
then that frees up some space.
And again it looks out onto the garden, which is a plus point.
And there's another reception room to show you downstairs. Let's keep going.
'So we'll go through to the second old cottage,
'and I've still got the family firmly in mind.'
Oh, right. This is obviously a similar room to the lounge.
-About the same size and everything.
You've spotted exactly where the original cottages were, cos this was one.
-This would be the second cottage.
-And this could be the play room.
-Yes, good idea. Good idea, yeah.
-Play room for the grandchildren.
-I'm always tripping over their toys.
-There we are - found the solution.
-Time for upstairs.
-Lovely. Thank you.
'Although we've seen three reception rooms, I think Phil and Carol
'are still weighing up if there's enough living space for them.
'I think upstairs might convince them.'
So this cottage has a total of six bedrooms.
-OK. A lot of space upstairs then.
-Quite a lot of space, yeah.
-And this is the master.
-For a cottage it is a very big room.
-And it's nice and light.
-And you've got a higher ceiling too.
Higher ceiling, so I'm not worried.
It looks out over the garden as well, which is perfect.
And you don't have neighbours overlooking this property.
No, that's nice.
The other five rooms include a generous single room,
again with garden views, a quirky room with space for another couple of single beds,
and a double with exposed beams.
Next door, the fourth bedroom is currently set up as a study.
There's also a small family bathroom and a separate WC.
But we'll cross the landing and get creative in the final bedroom.
It is a lovely-sized room, the second bedroom.
-Yeah, it is a very good size, yeah.
-It also has views across the garden.
And the fields in the background as well.
It is either for you or your guests, cos you could consider this as a master bedroom.
That's a stud wall, and behind it is the hallway leading to the toilet.
So you've got plumbing in the corner.
-You could knock that back and actually make that an en-suite.
-That's a good idea.
This is probably about the same size as the master anyway,
so we're not losing anything by doing that, yeah.
-Might even be a bit bigger. You've still got views over the garden.
-In any case, yeah.
Talking of the garden, are you ready to go outside?
-You can't wait, can you?
-Come on then.
They seem to be thinking through their options with this house,
but it's definitely going to be the lie of the land
that's the deciding factor.
-So what do you think of the gardens?
-It's stunning, isn't it?
-The garden's wonderful.
I mean, I'd take the garden right now. It is lovely.
It's sort of just what we've thought about and what we've envisaged.
-You've got about a third of an acre.
You've got a greenhouse, a shed, a garage,
and behind us, the garden is divided into two.
-Loads of space, I think, for chickens.
A huge chicken run, an aviary at the bottom of the garden.
A small chicken run and an aviary!
He doesn't want too many, does he? You can only eat so many eggs, yeah.
Start off small and we'll see how it goes from there.
So, thinking about this property,
how much do you think it's on the market for?
I would probably put it in the region of 325?
I'm going to go for 345.
-Neither of you are that close.
-OK. Right at the top.
-Top end of the budget.
-OK. I can see that cos it is a big place.
-Why don't you have a think about it?
-Have a wander and I'll catch up with you in a little while.
-Wonderful, thank you.
-Pop back into the house.
This is an extensive property with a lovely large garden.
But the price tag has perhaps made Carol and Phil realise
it would be difficult to have everything on their budget.
At £375,000, this extended cottage offers three reception rooms,
a large kitchen, six bedrooms,
so plenty of space for the family to come and stay over,
and a third of an acre of mature gardens with spectacular views.
So this is the bottom half of the garden.
-Looks a pretty good place for some chickens.
I would never have considered coming to look at this property
if I'd seen it come through the post.
However, it's wonderful that we have seen it,
and it's given us other choices, as well, things to think about.
There's certainly plenty of room here, isn't there, for us?
There certainly is, there's enough room for us,
children and grandchildren to stay.
With this property, the outside was spectacular.
Inside, it was a little disappointing because the rooms were small,
and with this being at the top end of our budget,
there's very little movement for redevelopment.
So, you both happy, have you seen enough?
-Yes, thank you very much.
-OK, let's go.
We may or may not be able to find a property with enough land
for Phil and Carol to keep donkeys on,
but I'm taking them to a rescue sanctuary just outside Great Yarmouth
which currently cares for over 1,100 horses, ponies
and donkeys on its various sites.
We've come to meet Nicola Jarvis, the senior vet,
to find out just what it takes to care for these endearing animals.
-Hi, Nicola, great to meet you.
Lots of very friendly faces.
-Yes, I'm swamped by donkeys on this field.
How many donkeys have you actually got here?
In the sanctuary as a whole we have about 60 donkeys, I think,
but 30 on this farm that you can see today.
How much care do they need, then?
Quite a lot, in fact we have some in stables today, if you'd like to see them.
-I'd love to.
-That'd be great, wouldn't it?
Let's go have a look.
Adopting a pair of donkeys involves a lot of care, cost and land.
It's advised to set aside an acre and a half for them to roam,
plus a couple of thousand pounds to cover the vet's bills, insurance and feed.
Nicola, who do we have here?
This is Tufty, our adoption donkey,
and we also have Charity, his friend.
He doesn't look that young. Not wanting to be rude.
He's not a spring chicken, our Tufty, is he?
I don't think he'll take offence, but you're quite right,
he's no spring chicken, he's about 26 years old.
And what age can they live to?
Well, the donkeys I've come across,
probably the oldest one I've met was about 50 years old.
50, did you hear that, Phil?
50 years old, that's a long time to look after a donkey.
You've got to think of that, yeah.
If you're going to keep a donkey, could you just have one?
It's always recommended to have more than one.
Ideally they're kept in pairs.
They tend to pine, not eat properly and lose condition if they're on their own,
but it hasn't got to be another donkey,
sometimes you can get them to pair up with, say, a small pony.
Well, it's hard not to fall in love with these adorable animals,
but it'll be a real commitment for our couple and a challenge
for our house hunt to find the perfect house with enough land.
As the first day of our house hunt draws to a close,
Phil and Carol reflect on the properties they've seen so far.
So, dear, what did you think of the barn conversion, then?
I was blown away by the lounge.
When we walked into that lounge and saw that huge fireplace,
the vaulted ceiling and the beams, I thought it was absolutely wonderful.
-The kitchen was almost perfect.
It was a kitchen dining room, it was to our taste.
The master bedroom with the en suite was lovely.
But on the negative side, there's a small garden
and that rules out the animals.
Which is one of the reasons why we're doing all this.
This is one of the reasons we're moving.
What did you think of the yellow cottage?
It was pretty much the perfect garden, for me.
Actually standing in the garden
and looking back at the cottage it was everything that we wanted,
but I must admit, I was disappointed when I walked through the door.
One of the reasons we're leaving Potters Bar
is because our lounge and our kitchen diner is too small.
These rooms in this property were even smaller.
That's right, and it's a shame, because I know cottage properties
do have small rooms, but they just seem to have
knocked the two cottages into one and left the rooms the same size.
Well, we've had a great day today.
And here's looking forward to another day tomorrow.
Fireman Phil and animal-loving Carol
want to seek out a dream home in Norfolk.
Armed with £350,000, the couple are looking for a large house
with land which allows them to adopt rescue animals.
So far, they've seen two properties,
but, coming up, Phil and Carol are smitten.
-Yeah, I can see us here, no problem at all.
Definitely, she says, definitely!
But, there's more to the lie of the land
than they think with our mystery house.
Yesterday taught us that, not only does the house needs to be
right for Carol and Philip, but the land surrounding
the property's got to be right for their animals, too.
Well, it's the beginning of a new day, let's see what it brings.
Next, we're heading to the village of Garvestone,
some 20 miles from Norwich in the heart of rural Norfolk.
Besides walking opportunities in the surrounding countryside
and the local knapped flint church, there's a scattering of
rustic properties, and I've got high hopes for our next house.
Oh, wow, look!
So, here we are, it's a new day, a new property, and here she is.
-She's beautiful, isn't she?
-Lovely, looks really nice.
The land, and the lovely mature trees -
I know you wanted mature shrubs.
-Yes, that's a mature garden, all right.
-Lovely pond there.
There's nothing there that really needs changing at all,
I don't think, on first glance.
First glances are always good, so let's take a step inside.
Well, it looks like a great first impression,
and there's the bonus of a double garage and car port.
But let's take a look inside.
Come on into the cottage.
Oh, look at this.
Look at that fireplace!
-That's what you call a fireplace.
-Isn't that beautiful?
You've spotted the inglenook straight away.
It looks like there'll be clearance,
as long as I don't grow any more, we'll be all right.
Jolly good news, don't want to be bumping your head as you walk through the door.
You've got a large downstairs bathroom,
and you've got a toilet, so two toilets downstairs.
You've got a utility room,
and leading off the utility room is a large study.
Let me show you what the reception room's like,
because I don't think you're going to be too upset when you see it.
-Another fireplace, look!
-Nice size room, really nice size.
And you do have your wood burner, as you noticed.
It's lovely, isn't it?
That is beautiful.
I can imagine sitting there in front of that of a night time.
-Yeah, I can see us here, no problem at all.
Definitely, she says, definitely!
Access to your garden.
Yeah, and we've got it all.
Very pleasing, we have got it all.
-We'll carry on and see what you think of the next room.
It's all smiles so far -
fingers crossed that continues as we see what's cooking in the kitchen.
Now, you wanted a big kitchen.
This has to be one of the biggest kitchens I've ever seen.
It's not too shabby, is it, dear?
Are you all right?
Look at that, look at the cooker. Have you seen the cooker?
-It's a bit of a journey for you, isn't it?
It's a wonderful size, initially, OK, we're going
to see a cottage, you think, small rooms, and then what
we've just walked through and into this is quite surprising, really.
It's really taken my breath away.
Nothing I can say against it.
And I don't care about the island!
You could fit a continent in here, young lady!
There's a sort of an island there, isn't there?
I can live with that, don't worry.
And, through that door, you have a conservatory.
-We like conservatories.
So, you two have got a lot to explore with this property,
I'll let you have a good look around.
Just a bit, and I can gather my thoughts.
I need to gather my thoughts!
Well, I'm glad it's impressed you.
Thanks ever so much, Nicki, it's lovely, thank you.
-I've got to get upstairs right, haven't I?
-That's the thing, yes.
-Shall we head up those stairs?
-Yes, please. Thank you.
This house is definitely working its magic.
The all-important kitchen has totally overwhelmed Carol.
While she catches her breath, we'll retrace our steps into the reception hall
and head upstairs to look at the first of the three bedrooms.
Come on through into the bedroom.
As you can see, it's much more of a cottage up here.
Yeah, a little bit smaller,
nice ceiling height, having said that.
So there's no problem with the ceiling height.
Like the window as well, looking outside, and it's light.
Cottages can be dark, but it's not that at all.
The other two bedrooms include one that's set up as a study,
but I'm saving the best till last.
-I've been a little bit crafty...
-You have been crafty, haven't you?
Look at the size of this, I never expected anything this size.
Not from a cottage.
-Is this more like it?
On our wish-list we're doing quite well, aren't we?
-There was something that you would like.
And that was a bedroom with an en suite.
That's right, yes.
Thank goodness I can say yes to that.
I love your expressions!
That's not an en suite, that's a master bathroom.
Yeah, look at that.
It's important that you're both happy.
-Just a minute, that wouldn't be a dressing room, by any chance?
-Oh, my word!
-With so much storage.
I love that little window there in the dressing room as well,
again, looking out on the trees and everything. It's brilliant.
-I think you need some fresh air, don't you?
-Just a bit.
-Time to go outside?
What a reaction, but I can understand why.
There's all the space and character they could possibly ask for,
and outside there's an old stable block,
which I'm sure Carol will put to good use.
-Is half an acre enough?
-Plenty of room for my chickens, and maybe a donkey.
-It's just about the right size.
And we're at the head of the River Yare,
and that's your boundary line, so you've even got a stream
running through your property, which has never flooded.
-Now I'm going to bring you both back to reality.
-This is the hard bit.
I'm going to ask you how much this is worth.
Who wants to go first?
I don't want to say too much,
because I don't want it to be above our budget, but...
-I'll say the top of our budget, 375.
I'm going to go for a little less, I'm going to go with 360.
Current asking price...
We can afford it as well!
We can, yes.
I'm so pleased, you're so emotional.
Do you think you might want to go round again and have a little like?
-Can you wait a few hours?
-We'd like the rest of the day.
It won't be a short one.
You take your time, make sure you've got a hankie with you.
Thank you, bye.
Well, I have never, ever had that reaction before.
Fingers crossed we might be cementing a deal.
Under budget at just shy of £350,000,
this character property has everything on Phil and Carol's
wish-list, and dare I say, could be their dream home,
featuring a large, light sitting room with wood burner,
an enormous kitchen/diner and conservatory, three bedrooms
with a master en suite and dressing room,
and besides all the outbuildings there's half an acre of garden,
so plenty of room for Carol's menagerie of animals.
It's a beautiful room, got my lovely inglenook fireplace, The beams...
-I think our furniture's going to be perfect in this room.
I'm just speechless, really.
It's a wonderful property.
This is a really good sized room, as well, isn't it?
It's a perfect-sized room for the grandchildren.
A couple of little beds in here no problem.
This is definitely a property I can see Carol and I retiring to,
living in and spending many wonderful years here.
That face says it all.
I really don't want to drag you both away,
but I'm afraid I am going to have to.
That's a shame.
Animal-lovers Carol and Phil are eager to re-home battery chickens,
and are all too aware of their plight.
In fact, it's been a hot topic highlighted by Jamie Oliver
and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, with most leading supermarkets
now banning battery-laid eggs from their shelves.
But although the EU plans to ban the use of battery-farmed eggs by 2012,
16 million battery hens still sit in their cramped cages.
However, help is at hand.
Carol and Phil are meeting Simon Taylor
from the Battery Hen Welfare trust to get some rehoming tips.
This is an example of a chicken house.
This is home-made,
but there are all sorts of houses on the market that you can do.
Just open it up.
What do you actually need inside one of these for the hens?
Inside you need a nest box with bedding in it, we usually use hay.
They've been in cages and they may not have feathers on,
and it's softer for them and for the eggs.
How many hens would you get in a structure this size?
In here, I'd have thought you'd have easily have six.
Always make it bigger than you need.
How many eggs do they lay when they come from the farm?
Once they've settled down, they'll be laying approximately
40-50% of what a caged bird would do,
so you might get three or four eggs a week, but we are currently
getting from our little girl one a day, and you'll notice
the change in the eggs as well, from what they were originally.
From a pinky tinge to the shell,
they'll start becoming firmer and take on a nice brown colour.
They get the nutrition back into them.
Would you like to come and meet some of the birds?
As hens are flock animals and very sociable, Carol and Phil
might want to think about rehoming at least three birds for starters.
Although the cost in keeping them is minimal,
they do need to be cleaned out regularly and given fresh water
and feed daily, as well as being able to roam free every day.
And once they feel the fresh air, it doesn't take long for them
to recover from their ordeal.
Here are some ex-bats that we've had for a while now.
They soon start feathering up.
As soon as they're out side getting proper nutrition, moving around.
As you can see, they scratch around.
What sort of time frame from when you initially get them
to when they look healthy, like they are now?
They'll start re-feathering within four to six weeks,
gradually, and within a couple of months
they should really have come back together again.
Carol and Phil are not just thinking about improving
their own quality of life when they move to the country.
They're also serious about doing what
they can to rehome rescue animals.
My goodness, what a reaction to that last house,
especially from Carol, who got very, very emotional.
However, we still have one more property to show them,
because it's time for the mystery house.
So, we're going to be seeing the mystery house in a bit.
What's the priority? The land, or the house?
-That's very difficult, isn't it?
-That's a very difficult question.
-It's got to be a little bit of both.
-You want it all, don't you?
Our mystery property takes us to the village of Alderford,
just over 10 miles from Norwich.
It's a quiet, rural spot, surrounded by fields, but Carol
and Phil could head four miles down the road to Reepham
for their provisions and a bite to eat.
There are some interesting looking properties tucked away round here,
including our historic mystery house which dates back to 1900
and is one of two recently extended dairy cottages.
So, guys, here is your mystery property.
As you can see, two cottages, farmers' cottages,
so it is semi-detached.
This is the one we're looking at,
and I know that wasn't on your wish-list,
but if you can, I want you to keep an open mind.
So, what are your first impressions?
Lovely outlook, beautiful over the fields, lovely garden.
I like the look the house.
-Your mystery house is waiting. Are you ready?
-Yes, take us in!
It's a muted first impression from Carol and Phil
but the living areas inside are a real surprise.
-So come on through.
Into the hallway. It has to be a very large hallway
or you could use it as a reception room
or as they have, keep it as a playroom.
Playroom, very good. Lovely fireplace with a nice wood-burning stove.
-You like those, don't you.
-I like a nice fireplace.
And it flows nicely into the next room.
You've got a separate dining room.
Lovely. That's very nice indeed.
Lovely, lovely fireplace.
I like the exposed brick. It's a really nice sized room
-and I really love the floor as well.
The kitchen's behind us so it's a great location for a dining room.
-I want to take you straight through into the garden room.
They call it the garden room
but it feels like a very, very nice conservatory to me.
It's beautiful, isn't it!
-Really, really nice.
Very big, very light, very airy. Lovely views outside into the garden.
You couldn't get better than that.
-Let's see what you think of the kitchen.
-You love a country kitchen!
Look at those flagstones. They're beautiful.
-Shall I let you into a little secret?
It's cement, made to look like flagstones.
So really hard-wearing and it looks fantastic, I have to say.
Forget the floor. What do you think of the kitchen?
It's beautiful. Very nicely done again.
I really like the cabinets.
Yeah, yeah. Nice range.
So we can still do plenty of cooking.
And there is room for an island if I really wanted one.
Through the door, you've got a utility room
and you've got a downstairs shower and toilet as well.
So this is all the new part of the house.
So workable for you?
-Good. Shall we go upstairs?
With such a surprising amount of space on offer,
perhaps Carol and Phil can put the fact it's semi-detached
to the back of their minds.
And upstairs, you certainly wouldn't expect five bedrooms
so let's see what they think of where they'd sleep.
So, I want to show you the master bedroom first.
Yes. Nice size. Very nice size.
Lovely views through the window. I love that.
It's quite a low window as well so you could probably look out of there from the bed.
Big enough for you both?
-Just about big enough.
I'm sensing a little bit of reluctance.
Yeah. At the back of my mind, I know this property is semi-detached
and at the top of our wish-list was it must be detached
so I'm a little bit reserved.
The house itself and everything you're showing us is lovely
but at the back of my mind, I'm thinking, it's semi-detached!
Is it putting a dampener on it?
-I agree. Just a little bit.
-The only thing I can say to you is this is the mystery house.
-So bear with me.
-Let's go upstairs.
I leave them in suspense while we explore the other four bedrooms,
which include a light single room, great for the grandchildren,
and one large enough to be a double with those space-saving fitted wardrobes.
There's a bright, modern family bathroom with separate bath and shower cubicle.
Every inch of space has been put to good use,
as we discover upstairs in the former loft.
So we're at the very top of the house.
Oh, goodness me!
I don't think this is ever going to be Phil's bedroom!
-It won't be my space I don't think!
-But I could live up here!
And perfect for guests and grandchildren.
Very nice, yeah. Very nicely done.
Someone shorter than me would have a good time up here.
The good news, the other bedroom just along the landing
has got a higher ceiling so that'd be all right.
It's also got exposed chimney breasts, if you like,
with exposed brick, which makes a very attractive feature.
Behind you is a bathroom
so your guests up here have their own bathroom.
That's probably a very good thing cos stairs during the night could be a bit dangerous.
So shall we pop back outside, have a look around the ground?
Look at the house and have more of a chat?
-Phil, you lead the way.
This is a beautifully-presented house
but I wonder if they can forget about it being attached.
Outside there's three-quarters of an acre,
so plenty of space for Carol's chickens.
On top of that, I have a deal on the land up my sleeve.
Standing here, you can see all the garden.
It actually wraps itself around the cottage.
It's beautiful. Lovely, lovely garden.
How much do you think this is worth?
It's your turn first.
It is my turn and I'm going to go for 345,000.
I think I'll go a bit less, I think it'll be about 339.
You're very close between you!
The actual asking price for the cottage...
-I've got something else to show you.
-I know your animals are very, very close to your heart.
This mystery property has the added bonus of being able to buy some land.
From here to that hedge, and all the way around there,
all the way literally to where the trees are there,
-that's just under two acres.
That is for sale separately from the house
so the house is 300,000 but you could buy all of that land for £30,000.
-Oh my word!
-A lot to think about. Options as well.
-Lots of options.
Why don't you go and take another look around the cottage?
Love to. Thank you.
Have a think about that land and I'll catch up with you in a while.
Lovely. Thank you.
It may be semi-detached but our mystery proposition
would give them enough land for a couple of donkeys.
Under budget at £300,000, it offers them -
three very versatile reception rooms with lots of character,
a large country-style kitchen,
five well-decorated bedrooms along with two bathrooms
and three quarters of an acre of garden,
with the option of buying another two acres for £30,000
and they'd still come in under budget.
You've got five bedrooms here.
-It's amazing how they've been able to do that.
I definitely think that I could see myself living in this property
so it does make me think that there might be something
that we could do with this property even though it's semi-detached.
Just under two acres is a lot of land.
And it's beautiful land as well. We could do so much with it.
I can see myself in this house.
I would have to think about it a little bit longer,
whether I would want to take up that additional land.
You two have got a lot to think about!
An awful lot. An awful lot.
Let's take you somewhere quiet and you can think what your next move could possibly be.
-Lovely, thank you.
Well, our house-hunt is at an end
and our properties have certainly given Carol and Phil lots of options to think through.
It's been a real emotional couple of days for Phil and Carol,
especially for Carol,
but I suspect we may have found them their dream property.
There's only one way to be certain. Let's go and ask them.
Carol and Phil, it's been a great few days.
-I hope you've enjoyed yourselves.
-Thank you very much.
-Had a wonderful time. It's been very exciting, yes.
So let's talk properties and start off with the barn conversion.
What did you think about that?
Barn conversions were something I was very keen on
and very keen to have a look at
and while the property was stunning inside, the garden wasn't very big.
We followed on with the cottage.
Originally it was two cottages and joined in the middle.
What were your first impressions of that house?
Very chocolate boxy.
You looked at it and you thought, "Oh, that's really pretty".
It was just so beautiful.
It was. The garden was stunning.
When we turned around and saw the house, it looked amazing.
From those two things, I'd have almost bought it straight away
and then we went inside and it was literally a cottage inside
with some very small rooms, so that was a little bit of a downer for us.
Well, a new day, a new property.
And we saw that very old cottage
with the extensions either side and the enormous kitchen.
It took my breath away, didn't it!
I went all overcome when I saw it!
I just fell to pieces, I don't know!
I got very emotional because again,
when we walked in, I saw all the land and I thought, "this looks perfect".
As we moved from room to room, it got better and better and more positive
and throughout the whole of the tour of the property and the grounds,
there was pretty much no disappointment at all.
Until you took me into that small room and tried to make out it was the master bedroom!
That was a bit mean, wasn't it!
It was a bit mean!
And then you took me into that wonderful master bedroom
with the en-suite, the bath, nice corner bath,
and then the dressing room at the back as well.
It was just stunning.
Our last property was our mystery house.
-That was a mystery as well, wasn't it.
It was stunning gardens.
And a beautiful-looking house.
And again, going through the rooms, they were spectacular.
The disappointment was that it was semi-detached
and we're really sticking by that we want a detached property
so that was a little disappointment,
especially as there was an additional couple of acres of land
to buy on top of that.
And it is a shame because I would've loved that extra land
and to have done something with that
but I think we've got enough land with the cottage anyway.
Yes. And the garden that comes with it.
That sounds quite leading!
I was going to ask you, what is the next step?
-I think almost certainly a second visit is on the cards.
And I'm looking to see where the Christmas tree's going to go.
Oh! That's sounding very positive.
-And you will let us know how you get on.
Thank you both so much. It's been a great few days.
-It's been wonderful.
-Thank you very much.
For Carol and Phil, this house-hunt wasn't just about finding a property for them,
it was also getting a property with enough land
to support all their furry and feathered friends.
With their flexibility on location and general open-mindedness,
I think we may have found them the perfect Norfolk home.
Join us again next time on Escape To The Country.
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