Property series. Nicki Chapman helps a couple relocate from south Wales to north Wales, with a job promotion the driving factor and on a budget of 300,000 pounds.
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I'm on the only cable-tour tramway in Britain,
a feat of engineering
which leads to this region's most famous coastal landmark,
the Great Orme. A limestone outcrop stretching across two miles,
it's also home to several hundred Kashmiri goats,
descended from Queen Victoria's very own private goat herd.
So where am I? Find out as we Escape To The Country.
In today's show, I'll be helping a couple relocate
from the suburbs of South Wales, and head for a completely new start in the north of the country.
Our house-hunters seem to be in property paradise.
And they're even prepared to compromise to get there.
-You're going to find a way to manage, aren't you?
But we might be sailing close to the wind with the mystery house.
'Today we're in North Wales, and this is the Great Orme Tramway,
'which, along with Lisbon and San Francisco,
'is one of only three such tramways in the world.'
Since 1902, it's been ferrying visitors
between Great Orme and the seaside town of Llandudno.
As well as stunning coastline, North Wales's great natural asset
is the Snowdonia National Park,
which stretches over 820 square miles.
Over half a million people a year visit its mountain range
and the crowning glory, Mount Snowdon,
which was the training ground for the first expedition team
to conquer Everest in 1953.
Amongst them was Sir Edmund Hillary.
Back down to earth, man has made his mark,
from the medieval fortress of Conwy Castle
to the £20-million cutting-edge building
for the Welsh Assembly Government in Llandudno Junction.
In fact, the fortunes of North Wales's coastal region
are looking rosy, so this could be a good time for property spotting.
So what's it going to cost to buy in this up-and-coming area?
Well, buying a property in this part of North Wales,
in the regions of Conwy, Denbighshire and Gwynedd,
is actually really good value for money.
The cost of a detached house here
is 48 percent below the national average,
and, with £35 million of regeneration money
being poured into this area,
now could be a very good time to invest in a slice of North Wales.
For a country seat in the Welsh mountains,
there's this eight-bedroom Victorian lodge in Salem,
It's been mostly converted from a former guesthouse
to a sprawling family home.
Outside there's 11 and a half acres of grounds
and views of the valley to enjoy.
there's this real one-off five-bedroom Italian-style villa
in St Asaph. Inside it's high-spec throughout,
from the kitchen's granite worktops
to the oak floor and French doors in the sitting room.
Outside, there are stunning views to the Vale of Clwyd.
And what about this three-bedroom converted church school
in Glasfryn, for £378,000?
It's awash with beautiful original features,
and surprisingly spacious, with two characterful sitting rooms
and a charming kitchen/diner.
With such lovely properties out there,
things look promising for today's house-hunters.
It's time to meet them.
Tanis, a civil servant, and Andrew, a retired community-education officer,
currently live in a three-bedroom house in Neath, South Wales.
With a job promotion and relocation on the cards for Tanis,
they need to uproot to North Wales.
We want to improve the quality of our lives,
but the reason why we're specifically moving to North Wales
is because I recently secured a new post
as head of Youth Work Strategy in the Welsh Assembly Government,
I'm delighted to say.
The actual team will be located in Llandudno Junction,
so we need to look at a property in that region, really.
They've spent seven happy years in their current home,
but they've got a clear wish-list for their new house.
We're looking for a detached, minimum of three-bedroom property,
ideally a nice-size lounge. Don't want to be cramped.
I like to cook, and having people round for a meal and drinks,
so I'd want a separate dining room.
We're not able to put a conservatory on this house, which I would like to have,
but I would also like a piece of garden
which I could use as a veggie patch.
They'd also like outdoor space for other projects.
A big bonus for us, as well,
would be, perhaps, an opportunity to have a granny flat,
or to modify a garage or whatever,
so that friends and family could come and stay with us
in total privacy then. They could stay a week,
and there wouldn't be any interruptions,
and they could make it as a holiday.
With a move so far away, there will be some compromises.
One of the biggest wrenches, moving to North Wales,
is leaving my granddaughter Leah, who is four years old now.
But the up side is that she'll be able to come and visit us
and stay with us for longer periods of time.
And there are some other considerations.
We have lovely views here, and one of the things
we would like to have in North Wales is to continue to enjoy that.
One of the things Tanis and I are really looking forward to
in our move to North Wales is to indulge our passion
in walking and hiking,
and having beautiful countryside right on our doorstep,
without having to use the car first of all to get somewhere to walk.
Before Andrew and Tanis make their move to the country,
they need to find out how much money they have to play with,
so we've asked a local estate agent to value their home.
This is a modern, three-bedroom detached house.
Superb condition, a nice location, super views from the front.
It should achieve £235,000.
A little bit disappointed with the valuation of the property.
My concern is that, up in North Wales,
it could be a little bit more expensive,
because it is more rural, more sought-after.
So how much do they have to spend on their next home?
If we find everything we want,
then, our budget would be £300,000.
So, the pressure's on to find Andrew and Tanis their new home
before Tanis starts her new job.
So, what are they after?
Essentially they want a three-bedroom detached house
with a separate dining room and study
and a large-size garden.
That shouldn't be too difficult.
Our house search will focus on rural locations
around Llandudno Junction,
where Tanis will be based for her new job.
I'll be showing them some prize properties on the market,
but, as always, I won't be revealing the price straight away.
And then there's our mystery house, which offers a grand alternative they might love or loathe.
Andrew and Tanis, welcome to a beautiful, sunny North Wales.
-I think the weather will be kind to us on our search.
-Are you looking forward to it?
-Really, very much so.
-Well, I can't wait,
because standing here today, just looking at this view,
I think we've found the perfect location already.
But we've got to find the right house.
-We're currently looking at a budget of £300,000.
Has that changed, or are we going to stick to that?
No. We need to stick to that. We've just recently bought a property
in Portugal, so our limit, really, is governed by that.
We have no additional funding, then, to be able to put into the purchase.
So 300 is the top line, but anything a bit lower would be helpful as well.
This area is a bit more expensive than where you currently live,
but we've got some amazing properties lined up for you to see,
and, of course, little bit of a curve ball, the mystery property,
which I can't wait to show you. Shall we get started?
-I'm all excited now.
-Great! Come on, let's go.
So, Andrew and Tanis have a budget of £300,000,
which would ideally get them a three-bedroom detached house.
Tanis wants a large kitchen and separate dining room,
while top of Andrew's wish-list is a garden
big enough for a vegetable patch
with the added plus of a conservatory.
The journey from South to North Wales is quite a long one, isn't it?
You can't just pop up here for a day.
It's about three and a half to four hours,
and the journey isn't an easy one,
cos the roads are not extremely good.
But we are fortunate that my parents live up this way,
so we can fit in a visit to them and then go across to look at properties
whilst we're visiting.
They must be thrilled that you're moving up to this area.
I think so. I've also got two sisters in the area,
so I've got family up this way as well.
Well, it looks like family reunions might be a regular fixture
with this move.
Our first property is just outside the village of Llandyrnog,
which would be a 25-mile commute for Tanis.
It's a pretty village with a couple of local pubs,
a handy village shop, and a typical Vale of Clwyd church
with its double nave,
and this indeed would be walking heaven for Andrew,
with the Clwydian mountains right on their doorstep.
The property is this restored cottage, formerly a rectory lodge.
So, here's your first property.
-Yeah, I like the setting.
-Lovely setting. Plenty of character from the outside.
-Got the slate roof...
-..but not set out in a traditional style.
This lodge is very quirky. It's got a lot of character.
I think we should go in and take a good look.
-Thank you very much.
So, come on in.
Ooh, it's bigger than I thought.
-It's deceiving, isn't it...
-It is, isn't it?
-..from the outside.
-Oh, it's really nice.
Yes. Oh, it's a bit of a "wow" here.
I thought the ceilings were going to be low, and they're not.
-Are you pleasantly surprised?
-Got your wood-burner.
Yeah. We wanted one of those. We've always said we'd like to have a wood-burning stove.
You can imagine it in the winter, with a Christmas tree,
lovely hot fire, warm fire.
-There's a nice smile there.
-Just take a look at this mezzanine, actually.
Because up here, that actually is your bedroom.
Oh, is it?
So, you like the dimensions of this room?
-Not sure about that open bedroom, that's all.
Let's take you upstairs and have a look at that first,
see what you think. So, it's up here.
So, here's your open-plan master.
Do you think this might work for you, or...
The size is perfect. Like Andrew, the mezzanine doesn't work for me,
so we'd probably take that off and extend the floor.
-Which you could easily do.
-And the bedroom would be bigger as a result.
-Yeah. It would be a nice size.
-That's a good point, actually.
And the en suite, which I know was on your wish-list.
-Do you want to have a look through?
-Go on, Andrew.
-Oh, it's fine. A nice size.
It's got everything that you need,
but it does need sprucing up a bit.
The plumbing's here, so we could change that quite easily, I think.
-Let's keep going.
'Although they're not smitten by the mezzanine,
'they seem positive about its potential.'
So, you've got quite a modern kitchen...
-..with one of the original beams above.
-They've kept it.
It could be big enough to have a formal dining table here.
-Oh, there's plenty room here.
The size is fine, but, um...
-..it needs renewing.
-And a fabulous view to the garden.
-Oh, it is, isn't it?
And the mountains in the back.
You certainly know you're out in the country.
-We like that. Great. Shall we keep going?
-Well, hopefully this room will be...
-SHE SPEAKS WELSH
THEY LAUGH Gosh!
Because there's conservatories and there's conservatories.
-Now, you wanted a conservatory.
-We did. Yes, yes.
-Is this what you had in mind?
No. I haven't seen a conservatory like this before.
-It's very unusual.
-When we first walked into the property,
you probably remember I said it had three bedrooms.
-We've seen one.
-We've only seen one,
-and obviously there's nothing upstairs.
-The other two... You were ahead of me there.
-We've got to go below stairs.
-So, follow me.
As these rooms are separate from the main house,
they could make great guest accommodation.
-Oh, it's quite tight!
-Steep and narrow.
-They are, quite.
But down here, you've got a double bedroom through there,
so that would be the second one. You've got a family bathroom
in there, but it is quite basic.
And then you've got the third double actually in here.
I'm not overwhelmed with this room.
I don't like the height of the ceiling.
You have got the feeling that you are down below stairs.
-A bit claustrophobic.
If you did want to look at those configurations again,
you'd have to go back upstairs, possibly extending out the side.
I think the only purpose I could see would be as a study or something.
'Well, at least they're being open-minded.
'They may not have been inspired downstairs,
'but I think they'll be wowed by this wonderfully landscaped half-acre garden.'
So, a very quaint property, very quirky,
but I do feel we've left the best till last.
-I think you're right.
-It's absolutely amazing.
It's a beautiful garden. It's well landscaped.
I like the way they've done it. I could keep it like this.
It is quite stunning. A mature garden.
Obviously a lot of love and attention has been taken into it.
-And potentially it could be followed on by you.
It could. Find a spot for my greenhouse and my veggie patch.
-We would be away then.
Is this the sort of thing you had in mind?
-It's more than we expected.
-This is nice.
-The only concern is the price.
-Shall we have a think about that?
-Let's take a wander through.
-It is beautiful.
-It's just perfect.
-It is. It's just what we want.
And you've got the double garage, with the study at the top,
with a potential, perhaps, of being a granny flat,
with the right permission. And you've got the workshop.
-It's got everything.
-A lot of potential.
-The potential's there.
-The potential's definitely there.
It all boils down to money, really, doesn't it?
How much do you think it's on the market for?
I think it's on the upper end of our bracket,
er, probably more.
Mm. I was going to say 320.
-So, it's, er...
-It's only just gone on the market.
The asking price is £275,000.
SHE WHISPERS AND LAUGHS
That's a shock!
Now, is that music to your ears or not?
-Oh, it is, yes!
because I think that we would have to bear the cost of the extension,
because we're not happy with those two rooms in the basement.
-To know that we could afford that as well...
-It is a lovely...
-I mean, the grounds sell it.
Do you want to take one final look around the whole of the house
and this building, and I'll meet you in a minute.
-See you. Bye.
Well, they seem bowled over that they could afford this house,
and have £25,000 left for any work that might need doing.
So, at £275,000,
this house offers them a spacious lounge with inglenook fireplace,
three bedrooms with a master en suite,
a large conservatory overlooking a stunning half-acre garden,
and outbuildings which, with planning approval,
could be useful guest rooms.
This is the space above the garage that Nicki was telling us about.
Yeah. It's really big. Great that it's got a toilet facility as well.
-Potential little granny flat.
The location of the house is perfect.
It's very rural, exactly what we wanted.
The garden is absolutely overwhelming. It's just perfect.
There are a lot of pros to the property,
mainly the garden. I think the house, with a little bit of thought,
-we could bring it to our liking.
-Yes, it is definitely a contender.
-Have you seen enough of the lodge?
-Yes, thank you.
It's certainly an interesting property.
-Very. Lots to think about.
-Good! And I've got more to show you,
-so shall we get going?
Once Tanis starts work, she'll only be ten minutes' drive
from the spectacular scenery in and around Llandudno,
where the Snowdonia mountains meet the Victorian seaside resort
in this crescent-shaped bay. On the headland stands the Great Orme,
where copper mining thrived until the mid-1800s,
when wealthy local landowners transformed Llandudno
into a holiday haven for the Victorian industrial workers.
Andrew and Tanis are meeting local guide Judy Brough
on Llandudno Pier, to find out more about its heritage.
So, welcome to this lovely seaside resort of Llandudno.
It's an elegant Victorian seaside resort,
and we've got the pier, where the liners would've arrived
right from 1877, when it was built.
But let's see what more Llandudno has to offer. OK?
This Grade II listed marvel of a pier was rebuilt in 1877,
and, at nearly 2,300 feet, is the longest in Wales.
For the best views of Llandudno, though,
a trip up the Great Orme is a must.
But there's no need to trudge the 680 feet to the top.
Tanis and Andrew enjoy a bird's-eye view for just over a mile
from Britain's longest cable-car ride.
But, if you don't have a head for heights,
there's the Great Orme Tramway,
which winds its way up through the town to the summit,
where they take in the gorgeous coastline.
Here we are. We've arrived up on the Great Orme,
-and it's just so quiet up here.
-It is. Very peaceful.
Just got the sheep in the background.
But just the views that we have from here,
you're looking to the corner of the Lake District,
and we sweep right the way round to the Rhyl Flats,
where you do have the wind turbines,
the modern industry,
and we have the St Tudno's church.
Of course, that's where Llandudno takes its name from -
"llan", religious enclosure,
and "Tudno" as the saint.
And Tudno actually arrived around the sixth century,
and he set up a small missionary where the church is.
With scenery like this, I don't think Tanis and Andrew
will look back once they've made their move north.
We've just got to find them their perfect house.
Our next property takes us to Betws-y-Coed,
which would be a 25-minute drive to work for Tanis.
Set against the spectacular scenery of the Snowdonia National Park,
this well preserved village has been a popular destination
since the 19th century, and, along with rural charm,
has an array of independent shops
and plenty of walking opportunities for our couple.
So, we've brought you to the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed.
-I hope I've said that right.
-You did. Spot-on.
Because this house overlooks it,
and has the most stunning views.
-Shall we go and have a look inside?
-Come on, then.
-Come on, then.
'This split-level house is cleverly built into the hillside,
'and has an upside-down layout, so we enter on the upper level.'
Come on inside.
Let's go straight through into the sitting room.
Yes. Oh, a fireplace.
-You like your fires.
-There's plenty of room.
-I think that's fine.
-Really fresh. Smashing.
And I like those doors. That's really nice. Perfect.
-And you've got the view of the woodland there.
-It's very peaceful.
Well, you spotted those doors straight away.
I'm going to take you through them now.
This leads to your private dining room,
which I know you were both quite keen on.
I like to cook, and I like friends coming over,
and it's easy access to the kitchen as well as the lounge,
-so it's just perfect.
-And also I can see the conservatory.
-You've spotted it. You like your conservatories!
-I do, yes.
We like to read and relax, and a conservatory's the perfect place.
-It's a huge bonus.
-It's a big room.
Well, let's go through into the kitchen.
That's a word I don't often hear!
Yeah. It's just... The kitchen's just lovely and compact.
It's got everything that you would need.
-Breakfast area there.
-And I like the view again...
-..from the kitchen window.
-That's Capel Garmon mountain.
So, you can both fight over who does the washing up.
THEY LAUGH OK.
They love those views, and I'm sure they'll think the large utility room
just off the kitchen is a real plus too.
So, we're back in the hallway, and the bedrooms and the bathrooms
all work off this part of the house.
As you can see, it's been built on the hill,
so two of the bedrooms are down these stairs.
Oh, nice. So, you've got a double bedroom and a single,
and they both work with this family bathroom.
-OK, that's nice.
-Yep, storage. Got the shower there.
-Everything you need.
-Yeah. Perfect again!
-It's that magic word, twice!
Got to keep this going now. Let's see if the rest of it is perfect.
-Andrew, we'll follow you.
Further down the hallway you've got the other two bedrooms.
-This is a large bedroom.
I think it would suit, probably, as a study.
-You could put the piano in there,
so that, when we have guests, they're downstairs
-and we're on this floor.
-We didn't expect four bedrooms,
-so that's a bonus.
-It just gives you that flexibility,
and having your guests downstairs,
it's like it's their own private wing,
and you keep upstairs for you. Let's see your bedroom,
because we've got to get that right.
-Oh, this is good.
-The L-shape is nice. Bit of a feature, isn't it?
Plenty of room.
-The views are there all the time, as you said earlier.
-And this room has the en suite.
-Yes, spotted that.
-Really well done.
-It's a shower room.
-Yeah. So you've got your shower in there.
'It's another "perfect" from Tanis,
'and I think they'll like what they see outside.'
So, the actual house itself is on different levels,
-but so's the garden.
So, the first level is here. Got a nice dining area here.
-Barbecue could be perfect.
And you've got an original stone wall.
Different bits to enjoy.
-And then...sturdy gate...
..you've got the more formal part of the garden.
-Another nice area for entertaining.
A lot of privacy because of this very high hedge,
and you've got the stone wall. So that's the second half of the garden
-if you like.
-So, we've got all this, which is fine,
but where's my vegetable patch? SHE LAUGHS
You didn't forget, did you? If you look just behind you...
-..there's quite a lot of land there.
It's certainly big enough for a vegetable patch
-and a large shed.
Every man has to have a shed. It's the criteria, isn't it?
-Goes with the vegetable patch.
-Somewhere to hide.
You've seen the whole house. You've seen the garden.
How much do you think the current asking price is?
Well, I think Betws-y-Coed is a very sought-after area.
It's an expensive place to live,
so I think it would still be at the top of our budget,
so in the region of 305?
I might go for that. 300, I would stop at.
Current asking price
-So it is under your budget.
-And nothing to do.
-And nothing to do.
The only reservation I have is about the amount of sunlight
that's left at the end of the day. I think it might be an issue.
-Well, it is a fabulous property.
-Why don't you take another look around?
And I'll catch up with you in a minute. Off you go.
'Andrew and Tanis seem delighted by the price,
'space and location of this property.
'It may not have the light,
'as it has a north-easterly-facing garden,
'but it's certainly got views to die for.'
And, just shy of £290,000, it's under budget,
and offers a kitchen and separate dining room for Tanis,
four bedrooms with a master en suite,
a conservatory for Andrew, and it's in a desirable village
within half an hour's commute for Tanis.
-Oh, that's a single.
-This is fine as a guest bedroom.
It's just a shame there's no bathroom on this level,
-cos we'd get guests here, and...
-Go up and down the stairs.
-Otherwise the size is fine.
I think it's a superb location.
It's a really smashing property, superb condition.
-You couldn't fault it at all.
-I like the conservatory.
I like the fact there's four bedrooms.
The fourth bedroom could be used as a study.
I have a couple of reservations. The size of the garden -
we were looking for something a little bit larger,
and also the amount of light that we have here.
During the summer it's fine, but obviously during the other seasons,
then it may be a major issue.
-Yes, thank you very much.
Good. Right, let's keep going.
Once Andrew and Tanis move to North Wales,
they'll be making the most of the Great Orme's fantastic walking territory,
and they'll be stumbling across its ancient Bronze Age copper mines,
the largest of their kind in the world.
It's astonishing to think that, when these 4,000-year-old mines
were discovered in 1987, the area was destined to be a car park,
until a small group of locals bought the lease
and opened the site to the public.
I'm here to meet archaeologist Sian James,
the Great Orme's very own Indiana Jones,
to find out more.
-These mines are really special, aren't they,
not just for the local community,
but they've changed the way we look at Bronze Age Britain.
Absolutely. Before these mines were found,
it was thought that Britain imported all its copper in the Bronze Age.
Suddenly we've got a copper mine that dates back 3,500 to 4,000 years,
that has about 2,000 tons of copper, enough to make ten million axes,
so we were probably leading the world in copper production.
Are we able to go down into the mine and have a good look?
Absolutely. You'll need one of these, and off we go.
'Excavation work has uncovered over five miles of underground tunnels
'and prehistoric passageways that go as deep as 220 feet underground,
'and some are so small they must have been dug by children
'as young as five years old. It's certainly a squeeze,
'as Sian leads me through to look at some of the artefacts.'
Now, that's really green.
This is the malachite they were digging out.
It's a mixture of copper and carbon and oxygen.
Obviously they were just after the copper,
so they've got to heat it up with charcoal to 1,000 degrees centigrade
-to turn it into the copper ore.
-And what did they actually use
-to excavate it?
-We've got some of the tools just on the side here.
This is a cow's rib, stained green from the malachite.
We've found about 30,000 animal bones down here so far.
-That's a lot of animals, isn't it?
And what did they actually produce once they'd managed to mine it?
Once they've turned that into the copper,
they're finally pouring it into a mould and making something like this.
This is a palstave axe, about 3,500 years old,
one that's been found in the local area, actually.
This might be the sort of thing you'd find in your back garden.
We might find one in one of the gardens we're looking at.
-If you do, give me a call.
Right, let's head back to the surface.
'North Wales is a popular stomping ground for walkers,
'and this underground walk back through time
'has unearthed a fascinating story of how we lived 4,000 years ago.'
As our first day of house-hunting draws to a close,
Andrew and Tanis compare notes on what they think of the properties they've seen so far.
-What do you think about the lodge?
-The location was excellent,
beautiful views of the mountain range.
-The garden was spectacular.
The garden made that property. The house itself?
I liked the cottagey feel, but I was very disappointed
-with the second and third bedroom.
-Yeah. The open-plan bedroom,
that didn't work for me. I could never live with that.
-No, I agree.
And the modern property in Betws-y-Coed
was really, really super. The layout was ideal
-for modern living.
-I liked it from the start.
I particularly liked the slate on the back walls.
That was really, really nice.
And the inside, modern. It had everything - little conservatory,
-which was nice.
-The garden wasn't big enough.
-And I was a bit concerned, as well,
about the amount of light that we would get.
Even in the summer, you wouldn't have any sun after about 5:30,
in the height of the summer, so by the time you came home from work,
it would be no good for a barbecue.
Well, we've seen two very different properties today.
-Let's see what tomorrow brings.
Andrew and Tanis are upping sticks from their home in Neath, South Wales,
and relocating to North Wales, where Tanis's new job is based.
With a budget of £300,000,
they've embraced this house-hunt with gusto.
'Coming up, Andrew gets decisive.'
Why don't you go and have another good look around?
-I don't think we need to.
I don't feel at home in it, though.
And then there's the mystery house,
which is sure to stir up their emotions.
Yesterday went really well with Andrew and Tanis.
Although they know what they want, what I love about this couple
is they're very open-minded and willing to compromise.
So today we've got something very special to show them.
I just hope it hits the mark.
Our next house is in the village of Llansannan,
a half-hour drive from Llandudno Junction
where Tanis will be working.
Set in the vales overlooking the Clwydian mountains,
Llansannan is about as rural as you can get,
and it looks like Andrew and Tanis would get a warm welcome
from these local residents.
This restored property, dating back to the mid-1800s,
was formerly two farmers' cottages now knocked into one.
So, this is your next property. When you said you wanted rural
-I think we might have found it for you.
-Here is your cottage.
-First impressions, very nice.
-It's very peaceful. Lovely atmosphere already.
-Good. Is this what you had in mind
-when you thought "escape to the country"?
-Good. Shall we take a look inside?
-Come on, then.
So, come through the porch. Plenty of space for muddy boots and coats.
-Straight into a very snug kitchen.
-It is. It's very quaint.
-A true farmhouse kitchen.
-It is, isn't it?
-It's really lovely.
-And you got the wood-burning stove over there.
-Oh, it's really delightful.
-I think this could work.
The only thing I'm not sure of is if there's enough storage space
-for everything. That's the only thing I would say.
-You're going to find a way to manage, aren't you?
-It's really lovely.
Good. I can imagine you having your breakfasts in here together,
but for more formal dining, let's go through here.
-Look at this!
-Nice little room.
-It's compact. I love the brickwork,
and retained the stone. It's really superb.
-A lot of character.
I can just see it would be really cosy.
-Be lovely, wouldn't it?
'If they liked the stone in the dining room, they're going to love this.'
And this is your sitting room.
-That is absolutely fabulous!
-A working fireplace?
A working fireplace. I think this room is full of character.
-Yeah, it is.
-Look at that beam!
I mean, it tells a story in itself, doesn't it?
Can you imagine yourselves here in the winter, snuggled up on the sofa?
-It would be very cosy, yeah.
-We can picture that, can't we?
Yes, we can.
They've clearly fallen in love with what they've seen so far.
Next door there's a double room, one of the three in the house
which would make a great office for Tanis.
'We'll go upstairs to take a look at the other two bedrooms.'
You've got a long hallway here.
Leading off it is the master bedroom.
-Right. That's fine.
-Plenty of light.
The skylight makes a big difference.
The only thing I'm a bit concerned
is that I've got quite a lot of clothes.
Find me a woman that hasn't.
You'll just have to get rid of some of them, that's all.
No. No. That's not what you ever want to hear.
It does have quite large wardrobes in here already,
so that's something to think about.
OK. Well, let's go back through to the third bedroom.
Oh, this is nice.
Bit of a recess there for a drawing unit.
You could put it there, couldn't you?
-This could be your dressing room when you don't have guests.
-Or your granddaughter. Got to think of Leah.
-Excellent. Let's keep going.
At the end of the hallway you've got the family bathroom.
-This is nice.
-A lot of work in here again.
This bathroom is the only one in the property.
You've probably noticed there isn't a downstairs cloakroom.
Perhaps a solution would be a downstairs extension or something.
Perhaps it's time to go downstairs and have a look at all that land.
'They seem to have lost their heart to this house,
'and outside is just as impressive.'
I know land is important to you, for your gardens, your vegetables,
so you get plenty here, over an acre.
And the boundary goes right the way along.
You can see where the trees are, all the way around the house.
But I wanted to show you these outbuildings -
storage, and you've got your workshop,
-so you might not need to have a shed.
There's a bit of width there. Maybe I could put my car...
Perfect. But there's something else I want to show you.
There is more. Through this gate.
I'm not sure if either of you ride...
-..but you've got your very own stable block.
-I wasn't expecting that.
-If you weren't sure what to buy your granddaughter for Christmas,
perhaps you want a little Shetland pony.
-Do you think?
Right. Leah would have that as her play-house.
I got to come back to that stunning view over there.
It is ideal. And what I like about it as well,
-is that you're just completely private.
-It would be lovely.
-Now, you love your wildlife.
-You love your walks.
-There's plenty of that around us.
But the beloved vegetable patch - hopefully there's enough land here
-to keep you very happy.
-I think I could plant a few potatoes somewhere.
-..to make some tough decisions.
So, how much do you think the house is on the market for?
I would pitch it at about 290. Yeah.
I'd go slightly higher and say 295.
Well, you got a budget of £300,000,
and if you were to buy this property,
you'd get £50 change.
-The asking price is £299,950.
-That's, er, really good.
-I think that's something we could work on.
When we walk into a property, we know if we like it straight away,
-and I think we had that vibe between us.
Brilliant. Why don't you go and have another good look around?
-I don't think we need to.
Well, please do, and I'll meet you out the front.
Well, they certainly seem head-over-heels about this house,
and I think it could be their ideal home.
For just under £300,000,
they would get a country kitchen with separate dining room,
a lounge with period features, three bedrooms,
1.3 acres of land set in glorious countryside,
and it's just over a 20-mile commute for Tanis.
-It's just brilliant, isn't it?
-Yeah. Inglenook fireplace.
Solid beam. Brilliant.
-Yeah, yeah. And plenty of light.
It's just been fabulous to see this house.
The kitchen in particular, very cosy feel.
The amount of land with it, and the opportunities that are there
for us to make it our own are excellent.
I'm very enthusiastic about this property.
From the moment I came into the driveway
and saw the house, how well it had been restored from the outside,
and I wasn't disappointed when I came inside.
I would say that it's a very serious contender.
Happy faces! Do you know,
I don't want to take you away from this property!
-We don't want to go.
-You really like it, don't you?
-We do, yes.
-Well, we're all in a very good mood,
having found this one, but... we've got another one to show you.
Yeah. So let's keep going.
Earlier in the week, keen nature-lovers Tanis and Andrew
met with Rebecca Clews from the RSPB Cymru
to find out more about the Menai Strait,
one of the most important conservation wildlife hot spots
We've picked a fantastic day to go round Puffin Island.
We're going to go out on the boat, see the breeding seabirds,
and in particular those lovely puffins.
-I hope we find some.
-Me too! OK, let's go!
The Menai Strait separates Anglesey from the mainland,
and there's plenty to see, including the grey seals,
with three quarters of the world's population making their home in UK waters.
And, scouring the shoreline for shellfish and worms,
there's a flock of oystercatchers, who do an impressive fly-past.
Half an hour's sail up the coast brings them to Puffin Island,
dated at 320 million years old,
and now a Special Protection Area for the seabird colonies.
And there's a noisy welcome from the residents.
On this side of the island tends to be where the majority of the guillemots are nesting.
They're on the ledges. They've got a special adaptation with the eggs,
so instead of a round egg, which is usual,
they've got a special-shaped egg, kind of a pear shape,
so if a bird knocks the egg, it'll just roll round
-instead of rolling off the edge.
-Are any puffins here, then?
-There are some puffins, certainly.
There's a lot of cracks or fissures,
and this is where the puffins tend to be.
Although it's called Puffin Island,
-at the moment there aren't hundreds of puffins.
-Why is that?
There has been a problem with rats in the past.
So puffins, they tend to breed in burrows.
There used to be rats on the island.
Rats would go into the burrows, eat the eggs or even eat the chicks.
But in 1998, the Countryside Council for Wales
eradicated the rats, and the puffins have started to make a comeback.
-So, there were some counts carried out recently,
and there was about 50 individual puffins.
Although Andrew and Tanis are relocating for practical reasons,
their move will allow them to experience unique sites
such as Puffin Island on a regular basis.
It's mystery-house time,
and so far Andrew and Tanis have liked and seen the positive
in every property we've shown them.
But this house - this is completely different,
so it's going to be interesting to hear what they've got to say,
and whether it'll change their opinion of their dream home.
-So, today we're going to be looking at the mystery property...
..which I always think is really exciting,
because it's always something a little bit different.
Is there anything you're hoping I'm not going to take you to see?
I think that the only concern I have
is that it might not be within our budget.
-Yeah. I'm looking forward to the mystery property.
-Although they're all a mystery to me,
because we don't know where we're going.
The mystery house is right on the coast in Y Felinheli,
meaning a half-hour drive to work for Tanis.
Looking out over the Menai Strait to Anglesey,
the village was historically a port for locally mined slate,
but nowadays its harbour caters more for messing about in boats.
With vistas out to sea and dramatic skies,
it's a perfect setting for a gentler pace of life.
During our house-hunt we've seen some really different properties,
but it's time now for the mystery property,
which is the bit I must admit I really love,
because it's something completely different,
pushing the boundaries, perhaps taking you out of your comfort zone.
-So are you looking forward to it?
-Very much. I'm very excited.
-Yeah. Can't wait.
-Well, have a look down this lane.
That is your mystery property.
-But we're not millionaires.
-It does look extremely grand,
doesn't it? But I'll let you into a secret.
The house has been divided up into six separate apartments.
-Do you like a bit of history?
-Do you like plenty of character?
-Well, hopefully you're going to love this house.
Don't worry, Tanis - it's only the west wing that's for sale.
This is a unique opportunity to buy a slice
of an iconic local property, so a perfect mystery house.
'It's a 17th-century Georgian mansion,
'where wealthy dignitaries of the day would have gathered,
'and it's now a magnificent conversion
'with bucketloads of original features.'
So, your front door is at the side of the property,
and it leads straight into your kitchen.
-I like the range.
-It's very nice.
-It's very old, cold...
Er... Hasn't got that feel to it which I want
when I walk into a house. It's not there.
-Well, it is the mystery property.
So we always try and make things a little bit different,
perhaps shake them up a bit. So shall we carry on exploring?
-I'm sure there's elements of this house you might like.
-You think so?
-I hope so, Andrew!
-I hope so.
-Come on, then.
-Let's go through.
So this could be a dining room,
-or it could be like a reception room.
The wood panelling... This wood panelling dates back to the 1700s.
I'm sure it would do it for some people, but not for us.
Are you still intrigued by this property?
-Oh, I'd love to see it.
-Come on. Let's go round and enjoy it.
I'm glad they're intrigued. This house is a voyage of discovery,
as every room has its own identity.
We'll go through and size up next door.
So, how's this for a reception room?
Oh, that's nice and airy.
-Oh, I love the high ceilings.
-It's a big room.
It is. Very generous windows.
And the fireplace is nice, as well. Lovely!
-Tremendous amount of character.
-It's a much better room.
Can you imagine having one of your dinner parties in here?
-It would be nice.
-Only to hire.
-You could see where I was going there, couldn't you?
-Yes, I know.
-Time to go upstairs.
-Yes. Thank you.
How is this for a hallway? And just look at that chandelier!
And that's an original Georgian rose feature...
-..on the ceiling.
-Very nice. Yeah.
And then in here is the master bedroom.
It has quite an opulent feel.
Yes. Yeah, definitely.
Yep. Yeah. Another fireplace.
I don't feel at home in it, though. THEY LAUGH
One thing about this room is, you've got so much space.
-Oh, there's plenty space.
-You could have a dressing area.
You could do so much to it. But if the feeling isn't there,
it's going to be a bit different. But you might like the bathroom.
-This is the family bathroom.
This property only has one bathroom. There's no downstairs cloakroom.
I'm surprised at that, the size of the building.
Nice touch in the beams, and I even like the blue.
-I quite like this room.
-I can say that.
-I like the bath in the middle there.
-This is cosy.
Wonderful. And then the other way out through the bathroom
is through into - well, this could be a second bedroom.
-It's currently being used as a reception room.
-This does feel a little bit warmer.
The mixture of colours just makes a difference already.
-I like the size of the room for a lounge.
Well, you like cosy, so there is one more room
-that you might love.
And the way to the third bedroom is up this amazing staircase.
So with any guests staying,
you could always put them up here.
Oh, those beams are absolutely amazing!
-How is this?
-You've got to admit this is a spectacular room.
-Oh, it is, yes.
-Up in the attic.
-And what about that staircase?
-It's something else, isn't it?
-I really like that staircase.
I think it's superb. Yeah, really nice.
It's unique, I think.
It looks like we've definitely succeeded in taking them out of their comfort zone.
'I love the authenticity of this house,
'but I understand it may be too grand a statement for them.
'And outside there's more to discover.'
Now, this country house does have a garden,
-but it's not attached to the main property.
Because here, this would all be yours.
-This is where you'd park your two cars.
-And this is actually the garden.
-Right. That could be nice.
-Getting plenty of sunlight.
-It's not very large, though.
No. But just take a look at this as a treat. Down here.
Residents have a right of access across this field...
..to these magnificent views of Anglesey.
-This is the Menai Strait.
You're allowed access through the farmer's field,
and then down there is a little beach
-which you're allowed to use.
-Ah! Very nice.
-How's that for a view?
-Oh, it's a beautiful view.
-You couldn't beat that.
It is quite a magnificent property.
So, you've got to start thinking. Numbers time.
How much do you think it's currently on the market for?
I think I would put it around about 269.
I was thinking something similar. Yeah.
Well, the original price was over 400,000,
but it has come down recently. A little bit more than that -
It's a beautiful home, but it's not the right home for you.
-No, it's not. No. But thanks anyway.
-That's all right.
Our mystery property offers living like a lord
with change in the pocket left over,
but its period splendour was lost on Andrew and Tanis.
Even the beautiful countryside and the beach didn't convince them.
Reduced from £425,000
and now under budget at £298,000, it commands respect,
offering two grand reception rooms with lots of Georgian features,
three large bedrooms,
spectacular views over the Menai Strait,
and it's half an hour's drive for Tanis to work.
This is quite a cosy room.
-It's a bit warmer.
-I think, um, it's got a lot of potential.
It's not for me. It's not something that we were looking for.
It isn't something that we were really planning for.
But we can appreciate all the good points
as well as our personal taste.
Well, it's a very old property,
retaining many of the original features.
I'm certain that somebody will find this ideal for them,
but it's not for us.
-Well, have you seen enough now?
-I think so, yes. Thank you.
Well, it's decision time, so let's go and find somewhere quiet
where we can have a talk and go through the properties you've seen.
Great. Thank you.
Well, I think our house-hunt has been a real eye-opener
for Andrew and Tanis, and has given them a lot to think about.
It's decision time for Andrew and Tanis,
and I don't think I'll be far off the truth
if I say that the cottage was by far their favourite.
But do they like it enough to put in an offer?
Let's see what they've got to say.
Well, it's hard to believe, but it was only a few days ago
we were actually standing here contemplating our house search.
-But how's it been for the both of you?
-It's been very, very interesting.
-Well, I'm really pleased we were able to help you.
But let's start off with the lodge in Llandyrnog.
What were your impressions of that property?
Wonderful garden. Absolutely fabulous position,
mountain views. The house itself really done nicely,
and had a lot of potential.
We weren't happy with bedroom two and three.
Still not sure about the open-plan bedroom,
and also there was still quite a lot of work to do
to turn it into what we would really like.
Now, we went to the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed
and we saw the property that was on the hill.
It was a modern property. The kitchen was really nice.
I liked the small conservatory.
The layout was excellent, and it was the right size,
but the garden wasn't large enough, really,
for what we wanted, and I was concerned, as well,
about the amount of light that would be there.
-Because of all the woodland and the mountains around.
Now, you were very taken with the farmers' cottages
-which had well over an acre of land.
The location was absolutely superb. Fantastic mountain views,
and we could just see ourselves in that house.
The size was excellent. It had three bedrooms,
everything that we could want.
Although it was only 20 minutes away from your new offices,
it was very rural. The property had been very tastefully modernised,
but retained many of the original features.
It just was absolutely gorgeous.
There's a large amount of land there, but it is a blank canvas,
open for us to put our mark on that exactly how we wanted,
-and that was nice.
So, from a property that really excited you
to the mystery house, and I don't think the reactions
-could be any more different.
It was an apartment with close neighbours,
which we're not used to. I said we are not anti-social,
but we do like our own space.
And also there was an issue about the garden.
It wasn't very large and it was on a slope,
and it wasn't ideal for the purpose that we would like to use it for.
So, bearing all that in mind,
what's the next step for you both?
Our house in Neath is currently on the market,
so we have to wait to see what happens there,
if we get enough interest. Then, if all things go to plan,
then, I think we will contact the vendors of the cottages
-and see if we can negotiate.
That's amazing news. So you're seriously thinking of putting in an offer?
-Oh! I'm over the moon! That's absolutely brilliant.
I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you. You've been wonderful,
and you've done a lot of work on our behalf, and it's helped a great deal.
And it's been an experience that we'll never forget.
-All the best with your retirement.
-Thank you very much.
-All the best with your promotion.
-Thank you very much.
Well, it's been a very successful few days here in North Wales.
Not only have Andrew and Tanis been pleasantly surprised
with what they could afford to buy, we also may have found them their dream property.
If they manage to sell their own home in South Wales,
they seriously want to put an offer in on that cottage,
so we wish them the very best of luck.
Join us again next time on Escape To The Country.
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Nicki Chapman helps a couple relocate from south Wales to north Wales, with a job promotion the driving factor. On a budget of £300,000 they need a three-bedroom detached house with a large kitchen and separate dining room. A garden big enough for a vegetable patch and a conservatory are also high on their wish list.