Property series. Alistair Appleton is in Shropshire as a couple with a budget of £400,000 hope to ditch their urban apartment in favour of village life.
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The Royal Oak is the third most popular name for pubs.
All 500-plus of them owe their names to the father of this tree.
Find out where I am and what I'm talking about in Escape To The Country.
'In today's show, I'll be helping a couple ditch urban apartment living
'and pack their bags for pastures new in the country.'
My emotions are just all over the place.
'It seems like we're on the happy bus for this house hunt.'
-# It's in your budget #
-It is. I know!
Welcome to Shropshire.
It was at this very spot in 1651 that Charles II
escaped capture by Parliamentarian soldiers
by hiding in the branches of an oak tree.
The original oak in a thick forest
was destroyed by 17th and 18th century souvenir hunters.
The one behind me is a direct descendant, 300 years old, of that very tree.
It's been given the nickname Son of Royal Oak.
'In the west Midlands, Shropshire is England's largest landlocked county,
'and one of its most rural.
'Despite a lack of coastline, water plays its part,
'with Britain's longest river, the Severn, running through it.
'Shropshire is seen as a county of two halves.
'In the south, the Shropshire Hills
'are a protected area of outstanding natural beauty.
'In the north, the Shropshire Plain is home to many large towns,
'including Shrewsbury, birthplace of Charles Darwin,
'father of evolution.
'Some wonderfully preserved examples of architecture still survive,
'from mediaeval castles to Victorian civic buildings.
'There's a range of house styles
'which is sure to tempt today's house buyers.'
Shropshire's had the reputation of being rather a remote county.
You're only an hour or so away from Birmingham and Manchester airports,
and there's a direct train link from Shrewsbury to London.
People move here because of the lovely countryside.
Shropshire County Council are the first in the country to develop a biodiversity strategy,
designed to protect the native habitats and species.
On top of that, there's some beautiful properties to be had.
'For £995,000, this six-bedroom country house in Wollerton
'has spacious reception rooms, and bathing in the free-standing bath
'or the pool with French doors leading out to stunning gardens.
'At £550,000, this five-bedroom barn conversion in Coton
'makes the most of light and natural materials,
'with limestone floors and granite worktops in the kitchen.
'The beams and inglenook fireplace make the lounge warm and inviting.
'For £350,000, this four-bedroom converted barn in Welshampton
'is awash with character features,
'from exposed brickwork and beams to the multi-fuel burner.
'And the back garden provides a secluded spot for entertaining.'
Some of Shropshire's finest, and we've still got some beauties up our sleeve for today's buyers.
Let's meet them.
'Jackie, a hairdresser, and Steve, a management consultant,
'have lived in their apartment overlooking the marina in Eastbourne
'for three years.
'As Steve will soon be starting a new job in Shropshire,
'they've decided to make a move to that part of the country.
'There are also other factors luring them there.'
We love the countryside.
We also will be closer to our daughters and granddaughter.
That's an opportunity not to miss.
Yeah. I'm really looking forward to the change,
and to be nearer to my family as well.
'Jackie and Steve have made the most of their apartment.
'What's on the wish list for their next property?'
I'd like a detached house, "olde worlde",
traditional features, three beds... And what would you like?
-I'd like a garage. I'd like a fair sized garden.
-Oh, yeah. Lovely garden.
A master bedroom with an en suite is an absolute necessity.
We'd like it to be contemporary.
'Anything else they can't do without?'
As you can see, my kitchen is very small here.
I've got no outdoor views at all. I can't entertain in this kitchen.
My dream kitchen would be somewhere that I can entertain,
have the family round with a big table in the middle
and to see my garden, see the outdoor space again.
This is my favourite room in the apartment. It's big. It's airy.
It's got windows with views.
I'd like to take this, replicate it into a house in a rural village,
with a view of gardens and hills instead of water.
This is our communal garden. We hardly use it.
-It would be nice to have a garden.
-Having a barbecue in this garden,
would not be the same as sitting in our own garden with friends,
enjoying the privacy.
'And how do they intend to spend their free time in the country?'
My lifestyle would be just go for long walks, you know, cycling,
and just getting involved with the community, really.
-I think, having people round, ad hoc, to entertain.
That's what we love. That's what we like to do.
'And what about the location?'
I would like to go back into a rural village.
Traditional houses, a local pub, village shop.
A traditional type established village, really.
'Jackie and Steve need to know how much their property is worth.
'We asked an estate agent to value it.'
An excellent two-bedroom apartment in one of the preferred complexes.
Fantastic harbour views, close to local amenities.
We'd comfortably market it at £240,000.
'With that in mind, what's the budget for their move?'
Our budget for the new property will be up to £400,000.
Jackie and Steve are moving from a two-bedroom seaside apartment
to a detached house in a historical, beautiful country village.
Anywhere else in the country, I'd panic that their £400,000
wouldn't get the mature gardens, the contemporary feel
and the period features they want.
But here in wonderful Shropshire, I think we might just make it.
'As Steve and Jackie want to be a reasonable distance
'from Steve's new job in Whitchurch, we'll base our search in that area,
'venturing only as far as Shrewsbury, 20 miles away.
'We found some fantastic houses for them to look at in Shropshire,
'but before I reveal the price tags,
'I'll ask them to guess their market value.
'And there's the mystery property, something they wouldn't normally have considered.'
-Morning, you two.
-Welcome to Shropshire.
-Jackie, this is the first time you've been here.
-Wow. What are your first impressions?
-Steve, you're moving because of your job, but you're also winding things down?
I'm looking to do this contract in Shropshire for the next five years.
-Jackie, are you going to be working up here or...?
I'd like to work in a little village, just part time.
You're moving from Eastbourne, a glamorous marina apartment
to a landlocked county, how's that going to be?
Well, I think we'll miss the sea,
but we're ready for a change and to move to the country.
There's some great properties. I know you're keen to have a garden.
I do miss my garden. We've lived in an apartment for three years.
-I'm ready to move to a house with a garden.
-Are you a good gardener?
-Not really, but we like a garden.
-You want one that's already done?
-Yes, we do.
-And that's done every time you come out!
Your budget's £400,000. Any movement there?
I'd like to stick with that. It depends what properties you find.
-Probably a little bit more.
-A kick... "We can go a bit higher!"
I'm going to stick with you, Jackie. Let's go and look at the properties.
'Steve and Jackie have £400,000 to find a detached house with...
'..Let's see if their budget finds them what they're looking for.'
Are you worried about new friends? You've made friends in Eastbourne.
No, we... That's our priority.
Get a few nice friends and you're well away then.
Whenever we've moved in the past,
we've put a lot of effort into creating a new circle of friends,
and find it rewarding doing it.
'Our first property's close to Baschurch,
'20 miles from Whitchurch, where Steve will be based.
'Baschurch has all the features of the rural village Jackie's after,
'including a post office and shop, a pub and a church
'built from the locally hewn red sandstone.
'The village is peppered with cottages, as we find down the road,
'with this much extended property.'
-Here we are.
-This is the cottage I wanted to show you.
-It's very quaint.
-I like it because it's an old building.
-You are on a road.
It's a very quiet road. A bit of traffic, morning and evening.
I do like the gravel drive. We've never had one before!
No, I always wanted to drive across and crunch the tyres.
-It's also the countryside alarm system.
-Shall we look inside?
'We're off the starting block and they seem intrigued.'
-Here we come.
So this is, actually, the original part of the cottage.
That's the extension they put on about 20 years ago.
-I like the beams.
-You like beams?
-Yeah. We've never had beams before.
-Yeah. Very cottagey, very nice.
-You like cottagey?
-Lots of features.
-Bigger than what I thought it would be.
-I was surprised.
Are you looking for big rooms or are you happy to have a cottagey feel?
-Well, I like cottages.
-I like big rooms.
-So that's our compromise.
-A cottage with big rooms would be great.
-You're not going to find that.
-We'll see the sitting room,
-how that scores on the bigger room.
-Same again, beams.
-Very nice. I like the fireplace.
-So, Steve, is this bigger or small?
It's a nice size. Smaller than the one at the moment.
But then, the one we're in at the moment is very large.
-Yeah, it's a nice size room.
As long as the furniture's not on top of each other.
-What sort of fire?
-It's multi-fuel, so you can do coal or wood.
-It really gives off a lot of heat.
-That'd be nice in the winter.
The kitchen's obviously a very crucial room.
Let's take a look at that.
'They have very different opinions on the layout of their dream home.
'Will the kitchen unite them?'
Yeah. This suits the property. It's a nice farmhouse kitchen.
Probably, if I'm honest,
a little bit small.
I would like, you know, a larger kitchen.
But on the whole, it does suit the property.
We do like to entertain and cook, so...yeah.
-It flows nicely into the dining room.
-And you do have these lovely bespoke oak units.
-They are very nice.
-It's got a big study.
And a utility room, so there's a possibility for knocking through.
But that would also be a bit of a job.
The great thing about this property is this room here.
-This is a really beautiful addition. It's only just been finished.
-I like how you've got a lot of space up there.
-A lot of light. This wood's lovely.
-It's an oak-framed extension.
-It cost a lot of money, £22,000.
-All right. We've never had that.
This is a great room.
-It's been tastefully done.
-I'd spend time in this room.
Let's take a look upstairs.
'Also, just off the kitchen, there's a useful WC.
'The extension is a very impressive living space.
'Upstairs, they won't be disappointed, as there are four bedrooms.
'I'm taking them to see their bedroom first.'
This is the master bedroom.
-Not huge, but high ceilings.
-I like the high ceiling.
-Seems a little small.
-The en suite is a bonus.
You've got a very big walk-in wardrobe.
That was another bedroom.
-They split it, half en suite, half storage.
-To have an en suite is nice.
-It is small for a main bedroom.
-And it is on the road. TRAFFIC PASSES
But I do like the height of the... Yeah.
'The remaining three bedrooms include a light single room
'and a double, so enough accommodation for their daughters.
'And there's the wood-panelled family bathroom with WC.
'But I wonder what they'll make of the fourth bedroom.'
-This is the other bigger bedroom.
This is the new extension over what, downstairs, is the study.
-Oh, right. Yeah.
-Again, you're looking over the front of the house.
But this is interesting. Take a look in here.
Oh, right. CHUCKLES
That IS a surprise!
You could make this an en suite. The utility room is underneath.
-So the plumbing's there.
At the moment, it's a bit of a...
-It would have to be an en suite.
-You don't want to keep it as a DJ mixing booth?
-My mixing days are gone!
I like this room.
'It's great that Jackie and Steve are thinking through
'how they could modify this house to make it perfect for them.
'Outside, there's even more accommodation - of a sort -
'in the half acre of land.'
-This is a surprise!
-How do you feel about horses?
Um... I like horses. Our daughters, they've got a horse.
Really? Don't tell them about this, then!
You've got two beautiful stables, a tack room and a barn.
It was on my daughters' wish list, but I took it off!
It's wonderful potential.
-What you would do with it is kind of interesting to me.
I would certainly have horses.
You've got this paddock up to that fence.
-Although you don't get the horse and the pony.
Your eyes are twinkling. I can see a horsey future.
Horses, potentially over budget.
-I'm starting to worry.
-We haven't talked about the budget.
But let's go into the formal garden and have that discussion.
You're looking for a mature garden. Does this fit the bill?
HESITANT: Yeah. It's, er...
Lots of trees about. Lots of little bits and bobs.
-How much do you think that costs?
-I think we'd be close to 380, 385.
-I think a little bit less.
I think 365.
365. Well, I'm sad to say that you're closer.
-This is on at 380, a shade under 380.
Armed with that fact, why don't you have a wander round?
There's lots to think about, lots you could change and move around.
Whether you'd have enough money in your budget to do those things.
-Then we can press on.
-On you go.
A very good start, I think.
It's a house that offers quite a lot of what they're looking for.
Well within their budget.
We'll see whether they really like it or they're just being polite.
'At just shy of £380,000,
'this extended cottage has some great selling points, including...'
At the moment, they're using this as a study.
-Would you use it as a study?
-No. I think there's more potential.
To get my dream kitchen, I would like to knock through and make it one big kitchen.
I could see ourselves living in this
but it would require some modifications
to get to where you'd be happy.
I wouldn't want it as a master bedroom.
The girls come down two, three days at a time, it's ideal.
I've never lived on a main road before and I could hear the traffic.
People do get used to the noise. I don't know if I could.
-Lots of thoughts?
-Lots of thoughts. Very interesting.
Let's go and have some more thoughts.
'As Jackie and Steve want to move to a more "olde worlde" location,
'they might like experience of what Shropshire's towns have to offer.
'Market Drayton is a pretty town with historic buildings
'and a claim to fame as the birthplace of gingerbread.
'As the market in its name suggests,
'it's easy to guess where most of the action has taken place.
'Steve and Jackie are meeting local guide Carol Chapman,
'who's going to show them the highlights of the old town.'
This is the Buttercross, the symbol of the town.
The farmers' wives used to come here and bring dairy produce to sell.
This is one of the many timber-framed buildings in Drayton.
It was built after the fire in 1651.
It's the site of the cafe where people dunked gingerbread in port.
Clive of India, Robert Clive, was born just outside Drayton and went to school here.
'Robert Clive was a key figure in establishing British rule and trade
'in India in the 18th century, with the onset of the British Empire.
'Famous for his conquests in the subcontinent,
'in his youth, he and his gang plundered from the townsfolk.
'The local church
'was, allegedly, one of his regular haunts.'
This is the church, the reason why Market Drayton is here.
It's Norman, has its original Norman doors.
The outside is Victorian, and up there are the gargoyles.
Robert Clive, as a lad, climbed up and shouted abuse at the villagers.
'Jackie and Steve will have many historic towns to while away the hours in
'with their new-found friends when they move to Shropshire.
'Our next property takes us to the village of Tilstock,
'a very brisk commute for Steve to work.
'This village could be right up their street,
'with a range of independent shops and that traditional pub.
'Our couple can also get close to the water,
'with walks along the Llangollen Canal towpath.
'Our next property is this modern bespoke Swedish style house.'
Now, what do you think of this?
-This is a change of gear.
-Yes. I like the long drive, hidden away.
I like the double garage.
First impression of the house, very nice.
-A big house.
-Yeah. It is big.
I'm probably a little bit quieter this time.
-You don't like it as much?
-N-no. Not quite as much.
-What is it you don't like?
I think it's, er...
It's got character and...the big roof.
From this side, it does look imposing,
this big mass of slate,
but because the sun is coming from the other side, that is south,
-all the action is on the other side.
'The large slate roof is fitted with solar panels,
'which help make this house energy efficient,
'cutting the bills by around half.
'But on the other side, things get interesting.'
In we come.
-Into this striking central atrium.
Wow. That's a...
-nice hallway, isn't it?
-I like the stairs.
-They're made of ash.
-It's not your pine everywhere. It's ash.
-Laminate floor, but throughout the whole house is underfloor heating.
You've got this lovely wood burner from Denmark.
It's a sort of Swedish idea. You have a central space,
the heart of the home, and everything flows off it.
'Just off the dining room is a cloakroom with WC,
'a study so Steve can work from home and, next door,
'the all-important kitchen.'
-Lovely glazed door, keeps the smells out but lets the light in.
-It's very light, good size.
-Yeah. I like the shape, nice square shape.
It all flows out into the garden, which we'll explore later.
Yeah. It's nice to see the garden from the kitchen.
-I like to have the table in the kitchen.
You know, when the family come and you can entertain in the kitchen.
You've got a very big utility room in there.
-Let's flow on through, back to the other side of the house.
'They're being very nice.
'I think they'll have different opinions on the next room.'
-This is what they call the sitting room.
You could set your stall out in here in a number of options.
It's not limited to how you could lay it out and live.
I get the impression you're not so keen on the open planness of it.
-It's not a crime!
-I think it's a little bit too open for me.
-I quite like the open plan.
-You prefer separate rooms?
-I think so.
That's interesting. A lot of people, nowadays, prefer the open plan.
-You're more old school!
-Yes, I think so!
-It's a very restful house. It makes you want to sit down.
But I can't. I've got the rest of it to show you.
'Right by the stairs,
'there's the first of six bedrooms, a large double room
'with an enormous en suite with bath and walk-in shower.
'And there's more space than they could hope for upstairs.'
This is a lovely feature.
-Again, this central atrium.
-This is nice.
They've used the space very well.
Instead of a landing that doesn't know what it is, it's a work room.
Being used. It's nice.
'Leading off the landing are three more bedrooms large enough for two single beds or doubles
'and with those sunny skylights.
'There's also a family bathroom with an enclosed bath.'
I'm not sure whether you would use this as the master.
Actually, the one downstairs is bigger.
It's a little bit smaller than the one downstairs.
-You've got a shower room as well.
-Yeah, which again...
-This is a good size room.
-I like this size room.
I wanted to show you another possibility.
If you go back onto the landing...
'The rooms here just keep on coming, with an interesting project for them
'on the other side of the galleried landing.'
This room hasn't been finished. It's a sort of work room, project room.
-But I was thinking this might make a nicer master suite.
-It would, actually.
-En suite in there.
-You've got all the plumbing.
-It's a very generous property. It's got lots of everything.
Very large. Yeah.
-Including lots of garden.
-Oh, right. Well, that's...
I thought of you!
'The interior is homely,
'but has an amazing amount of flexible living space,
'which Steve and Jackie could make their own.
'For a couple who have no garden,
'what about two-thirds of an acre?
'As well as a decked area for entertaining,
'there's a vegetable garden and mature fruit trees.
'At the side of the garden, Steve gets his beloved garage,
'with the chance to convert the loft room.
'With the house and the garden covered, it's time to talk money.'
Here you get a better view of this side of the house being opened up.
-It looks lovely from this side.
-So much different from the front.
-I do like this side. It's beautiful.
-So what do you think it costs?
I think it'll be...400.
I think more like 430, 435.
-You're quite good at this.
-It's on the market at 440.
It's been on for a while. I think they'd take sensible offers.
-It seems YOU, not keen on open plan.
-And I quite like the open plan.
-Open plan doesn't worry me.
-Good. Well, go and slug it out inside.
Well, it's great because it brings all these things into the open.
To be honest, I love this property. It's very sun and nature orientated.
But it seems like there are other issues playing in our buyers' minds.
We need to find out what they are.
'This property's a real one-off and although it's over budget,
'Steve and Jackie could see where a sensible offer would lead them.
-A lot of bedrooms. We'd be running a bed and breakfast before we knew it!
When we walked in, it was overwhelming, the size of property.
I've never really lived in a house that is so open.
And I don't know if I could get used to that.
I didn't realise she didn't like big open spaces inside houses!
I think I could find myself enjoying living in a place like this.
It's made me realise how much I've missed a garden.
It's absolutely beautiful.
-You look very comfortable there.
-It's so peaceful.
It's hard to tear yourself away, but tear ourselves away we must.
On we go.
'Shropshire formed the backdrop
'to a scene that could have marked the end of the monarchy.
'I'm visiting the property that was centre stage.'
I've come to Boscobel House on the edge of Shropshire,
home to the famous Royal Oak and some ingenious royal hidey holes.
I'm going to track down head custodian Ella Harrison to find out more.
'It was built in 1632 by local landowner John Giffard,
'ostensibly as a hunting lodge but also as a Catholic safe house,
'one of a network across the country.
'As Catholicism was punishable by death, these places were vital,
'and never more so than in 1651, when the future King Charles II,
'defeated by Cromwell in the final battle of the Civil War at Worcester
'hid here on his escape route to France.'
We're interested in the night when Charles II came here.
He came out of the battle field, was met by an escort party.
The idea was to get as far away as possible.
In this party was the Earl of Derby.
He knew about Boscobel, that it was a Catholic safe house
and if they brought Charles he would be looked after.
-Shall we go into the parlour?
'To hide the King would have been dangerous,
'so although he was received in the parlour
'he was soon ushered to a less comfortable hiding place.'
This is where Charles will have been brought into,
sat by the fireplace, had some food,
and met Colonel Careless,
who suggested hiding him in the oak tree.
-He was in the tree for how long?
-He was up there for 14 hours.
-So quite a while.
It's the closest he got to being caught on his escape route.
-Soldiers walked underneath the tree, describing what they were going to do to him.
'Charles was then escorted to the priest hole in the attic
'which, under normal circumstances,
'would not have been fit for a king.'
How did they hide him? Did they have a trap door?
It would have been solid floorboards.
-They would have lifted up the floorboards, dropped him inside and nailed the floor back down.
-So he spent the night in here?
-It's pretty small.
Presumably, people back then were small anyway. How tall was he?
-Charles was six foot two, very tall for his time.
-Six foot two?
It's a period in English history, you have to be on one side or the other.
-Charles or Cromwell.
-Which do you side with?
-Charles. I couldn't say otherwise.
'It's amazing to think that a few nights in this house
'made such an impact on English history and the monarchy.
'As we reach the halfway point in our property search,
'Jackie and Steve look back at the day's events and the houses they've seen so far.'
What did you think to the cottage with the stables?
The stables were a nice surprise.
-The paddock, great.
-When I first saw it, I thought, "Very quaint."
I like the size of the cottage, the little rooms.
The kitchen was a bit small, although it was lovely.
The Swedish style house. What did you think of that?
From the front, I was a little bit disappointed.
Inside it was like Aladdin's cave. It was a really big house.
When you came out of the back of the house,
that really did sell the house, the garden was absolutely amazing.
-The garden was immaculate.
-You really liked that one.
I liked the open plan. It was space, light.
It was a unique house that I don't think you'd find in many places.
-The location, down the drive.
-Oh, that was perfect!
Lots of character to the house as well, so a lot to think about.
I'm just hoping tomorrow that they can take all the positives
-from both those properties...
-And bring them to one.
'After three happy years in their marina apartment in Eastbourne,
'Jackie and Steve want a new life in rural Shropshire.
'With a £400,000 budget,
'they are looking for a house with a large kitchen and garden
'in a village close to Whitchurch, where Steve's job will be based.
'We've seen two properties, but on the second day of our house hunt, everything gets exciting.'
-She's bursting with joy.
'And there's the piece de resistance in our mystery property.'
Yesterday proved illuminating.
We learnt a lot about Steve and Jackie's property preferences.
Jackie, it turns out, isn't keen on open plan
and Steve likes big rooms.
Today, I'm going to try to keep them both happy by showing them big rooms with doors!
'We're going 13 miles from Whitchurch for our next house tour,
'to the village of Stoke On Tern, right in the midst of farmland.
'Although there are no amenities in the village,
'they could pick up provisions in Hodnet, down the road.
'It's a pretty place with timber framed buildings and a red sandstone church typical in this area.
'In the heart of Stoke On Tern is an impressive 19th-century property.'
-I like this a lot.
Ah! Look! The difference is amazing!
-This is beautiful.
-This ticks all the boxes.
-You haven't seen inside.
-I know. It's gorgeous.
This is the coach house and stables of the rectory, the building behind.
They were probably built around 1815.
It was converted into a dwelling about 30 years ago.
See that arch, that window at the end?
That would have been where coaches went in.
A hay loft up there. Very nice double garage here.
-I love the setting.
-Location is gorgeous.
-Shall we go inside?
'The outside has got a rapturous response from Jackie and Steve.
'Let's see if the inside measures up.'
Let's go straight into here.
Wow! JACKIE GIGGLES
-We like all these giggles.
-Wow! I don't know what to say, I'm so overwhelmed.
-Fits my list.
-Definitely fits my list.
-We are smiling a lot.
-My emotions are all over the place at the moment.
-I feel very excited about this property.
-It's got the "wow".
It's an L-shaped room, where the carriages went in and out.
And they've joined them up so that it's a nice, sort of, space.
This used to have a fireplace. You like a fireplace.
You could reinstate it.
Our furniture would look... We could just move in here.
-The room's made for the furniture.
-It is definitely our style.
Let's look round here.
-It's quite a big spacious room.
It's an unusual shape, which I like.
It's got character to it.
-Yes, we like this a lot.
It's charming, isn't it? A lovely space.
This is the biggest reception room. The kitchen's through here.
'I'm sure the kitchen will make Jackie ecstatic.'
Here it is!
Ah! Oh, a range!
-Yes. Proper range.
-That's a good size kitchen.
-You'll like that, Jackie.
The largest kitchen we've had. We could dine in here.
-Breakfast and stuff.
-It's a lovely kitchen.
-Nice and sunny.
Yes. Lots of windows.
You can see the garden. Yes, it's a nice family...
-She's bursting with joy!
-Anything you don't like?
-Are you happy as well?
-It's always nice to see my wife excited.
-Then I'm in the good books.
-I hope the excitement continues into the sitting room.
-This is the sitting room.
-Where you can watch the television.
-I've got my fireplace.
It's a working flue.
You can put in logs there.
-Nice size room.
-It's so cosy. It's...homely.
-But big enough to spread out and relax.
Yes. Spot-on, size wise.
-And I like that we've got two windows.
-Onto the garden.
The sun sets over there. You get the evening sun down here.
The house is mostly on one level.
Most of your sleeping is downstairs. How do you feel about that?
I don't mind that. I've lived in a bungalow before.
'We'll press on down the hallway, passing one of the four bedrooms,
'a double with fitted wardrobes.
'They'd certainly be able to spread out in the next room!'
is possibly the biggest bathroom I've shown anyone in a long time.
JACKIE LAUGHS This is a big bathroom, isn't it?
'Opposite the bathroom is a bedroom big enough to be a double,
'and another bedroom, which we'll look at.'
-At the moment, it's got twin beds and a cot in.
I like this room because it's got the double aspect.
The setting sun comes down there.
-You've got light coming in here as well.
-The view of the garden.
You could perhaps use this as a study.
-It would be quite a nice place to work.
-That's a good idea.
-Steve, when you're working from home.
'Steve will be happy with the large double garage
'accessed via the ground floor, with stairs leading to a huge loft space.
'But we'll head upstairs to admire the master bedroom.'
So what used to be the former hay loft...
-..is now your master bedroom.
-The sitting area!
-Loads of room to get ready in.
Big, big room.
The ceilings are high. All these little windows in one room!
-..there's a very nice en suite.
-This is a big en suite, isn't it?
-Charming with the beams.
The beams, yeah. That's a real bonus, that.
-So, you like the inside?
Really good feel.
The outside is a wrecker's yard. There's no garden.
-All right. SHE GIGGLES
'Steve and Jackie didn't find fault with anything in this house
'and, dare I say, seemed to be picturing themselves living here.
'The garden is perfectly tended, with an established vegetable patch,
'fruit trees and a big lawn for grandchildren.
'As they're used to being close to water,
'they'll be pleased by the stream which runs alongside the property,
'open fields stretching beyond.
'Now, it's the moment of reckoning.'
The question is, can you afford it?
I don't know. I think it's going to be over our budget.
-I think it's over budget.
-I'll let you go first.
-I think 420,000.
I think it's going to be more than that. 440.
Well, this property is on the market for...
In your budget.
-That surprises me.
For the location, the style of property, the mature garden,
I would have said over, but that is a nice surprise.
# It's in your budget! #
-It is. I know.
-Well, I'm sure you'd like to have another look around.
-Yes, we would.
-I'll see you out the front.
-OK. Thank you.
That's what you call a humdinger of a house tour.
I don't think there was anything that they didn't like in the whole house. That's probably a first!
'It's a great house at a great price.
'For their budget of £400,000, it would give them...
'..The big question is, could this be their dream home?'
-You like this garage?
-It's my domain. You have the house. I'll sleep in the corner.
20 out of ten.
Really superb. I cannot find a fault with this property.
-This is a nice size bedroom.
-Good size, square.
Lots of storage room. I'd only get the end one, but there you go!
I really do like this house a lot.
Absolutely beautiful. Fell in love with it straight away.
-I'm going to drag you kicking and screaming from this house. There's more to see.
'Although Jackie and Steve will be stepping away from the water's edge,
'there are plenty of rivers and lakes which provide opportunities for pursuits such as fly fishing.
'As Jackie and Steve have never cast off before,
'we've arranged for them to hook up with Louis Noble
'at the Hillview trout fishery, to show them how it's done.'
Here is a couple of typical fly rods
that are very useable for this kind of water.
There's different lengths cos I chose them to suit your build.
Jackie, I've got a nine foot rod for you.
Steve, I'd like you to use the nine foot six rod.
They're made of carbon fibre. You'll find them very comfortable.
It's very windy today and hooks are very sharp.
Steve, I'd like you to wear that, and Jackie.
Very importantly, if you wouldn't mind wearing these safety glasses.
'With over 40 years' fishing experience, Louis is the man to help them keep their heads above water.
'First, they need to learn the basic roll cast,
'lifting the rod, making a D-loop with the line,
'flicking the rod forwards 45 degrees
'to get the line into the water.
'Then it's time to get to grips with the overhead cast.
'The rod is brought back,
'then forward and lowered towards the water.
'This allows the line to travel out further.'
-Would you like a try, Jackie?
-I would. Yeah.
-Thanks, Steve. That's smashing.
-Yes. I'll need it.
-And off you go.
We'll get Steve fixed up next door. Just keep your eyes on it!
All right, Steve.
'So, it's eyes down for Steve and Jackie
'as they try to catch a fish.
'Trout feed more on an overcast day with a light breeze,
'when the water is more oxygenated.
'It's not long before Jackie gets a bite.'
Don't pull too hard. Just let it come to the surface.
Well done, Jackie.
-You could take it, but shall we put him back?
'This lucky trout lives to fight another day.
'And our couple have caught the fishing bug.
'Maybe next time, they'll enjoy a take-home supper.'
It's going to be very tricky to top that last property, particularly in Jackie's books.
But the mystery house is interesting.
Instead of showing them something different, we're showing them something the same.
-Any idea what we might be showing you?
It might be something that we haven't wished for,
like a barn or something.
We can be more exciting than a barn!
-Oh, right. OK!
-We're going to show you a nuclear bunker.
'Our mystery property is 25 miles from Whitchurch,
'on the edge of the Preston upon the Weald Moors.
'Surrounded by countryside, our historical mystery house
'is an unmissable architectural landmark set in its own estate.'
-Now, this is a mystery house, huh?
-Yeah. Some mystery house.
-All of this is not yours.
You have to guess which part of it could be yours.
-Left, right, centre.
-We could be here for quite some time.
You could be the owner of the top half of this wing.
-These two windows at the end and eight windows along.
-Eight! Oh, right!
So it's apartment living. That's the mystery.
-Didn't expect that.
-We live in an apartment now.
-That's the twist.
So we do know all the advantages of an apartment.
The Wrekin over there, famous Shropshire hill.
All of these grounds are communal.
-Let's go inside.
'Built in 1725, this magnificent almshouse, now Grade I listed,
'was designed by a student of Sir Christopher Wren
'and was converted into apartments in 2004.'
-In you come.
# Ta-da! #
-So, all seven windows.
Eight including that one, all in one big space.
-It is grand.
-It IS grand, isn't it?
Here, what they did is they took out a room,
it was going to be walled off, so you can enjoy the space.
-Which makes sense to me.
-You don't have just this big long corridor.
They have it as their sitting room.
-Is this making you anxious cos it's too open plan?
-It's very open plan.
Well, this part is.
I think I'm just overwhelmed by the whole height of it,
all the windows and the size of it.
-This is not an apartment. It is "un appartement".
-That makes all the difference.
-It's very grand.
-Anyway, let's have a look at the rooms.
Obviously, it's all off this main corridor.
This is the kitchen-diner, kitchen-sitting room, really.
The units are lovely.
Unusual, sitting room and fireplace in the kitchen.
It's got that quirkiness of the sitting room in the hallway.
I think, to be honest, the owners have made the rooms what they want.
-They live and eat and spend a lot of time here in this same space.
-Which is what most of us do.
It's nice to have the kitchen table in the kitchen.
-Nice size kitchen in itself.
'This is an extraordinary apartment.
'I'm glad that Steve and Jackie appreciate its individuality.
'Tucked behind the sitting room is currently a formal dining room,
'which they could convert into a double, giving them three bedrooms.
'We'll carry on down the hallway and look at the guest room.'
-This really is a bedroom.
Yeah. Well, it's got the high ceilings, what we like.
It's got a double bed in it, so it's a decent size.
They have got a lot of furniture in it so, you know, um...
-Looks small at the moment.
-Yeah, and I think it's because
they have got a lot of personal things.
It's crowded with a lot of items, so it's difficult to see the space.
'Next door, there's the family bathroom with overhead shower.
'We'll check out what would be their master.'
-This is lovely.
-Good size room. Nice double bay with two windows.
Yeah, the high ceilings,
which is great in these buildings.
-Yeah, nice room.
-A little shower room.
Yeah, it's a nice size. Ceilings are nice and high, which we like.
Well, the mystery house is always a curve ball to stir things up.
-Let's take in the period grandeur and see if things sift through.
'Our mystery property offers
'apartment living in some splendid historic architecture.
'But will Jackie and Steve be sold on its unique wow factor?'
We've got a good view of it.
I'm still slightly confused.
Do I like it? Don't I like it? I can't make my mind up.
-It's a very different proposition.
-It is. Yeah.
-You don't really have a garden. This is the communal grounds.
Look at all these lovely trees in the park.
-When you look at the whole building, it is...
-It's very, very grand.
-How much do you think it costs?
Well, again, I'm not very good at this, but...
-You go first.
I think it'll be under our budget
-I think it's more likely...350?
-OK. You're both a bit pessimistic.
-This is on the market at 325.
It is an apartment and you don't have a garden.
-Why don't you mull over whether you like it or don't like it?
Then we'll regroup and think about everything.
It IS a big curve ball to move from a marina apartment
to an 18th-century apartment.
But that's what this show's about.
Sometimes, it's really useful to shake things up
and see whether what you thought you want is really what you want.
'This mystery apartment is certainly an enticing proposition.
'Well within budget, it's a chance to own part of a remarkable building
'and would give them...'
-They're lovely grounds. Very mature, very well kept.
They're lovely, but they're not ours, are they?
Although the grounds are absolutely beautiful,
the apartment's beautiful, you know,
I think it's time for a change.
-It's definitely a grand apartment.
-It's a fabulous apartment.
-But do you think we need a change from our current apartment?
-I think so.
Having seen the apartment, it's very spectacular, open spaces,
very well done.
But having been in an apartment,
I don't think myself or Jackie
would want to move into another apartment at this time.
These 18th-century architects knew how to build a sun trap!
OK, let's find somewhere to think about everything.
'We've shown Jackie and Steve an assortment of properties.
'Now they need to decide where they go from here.'
You have to say, we did lay on nice weather for your first exposure to Shropshire.
-Did it leave a good impression?
-It did. Yeah.
We liked it. To say I've never been before, it was beautiful.
-We've seen a few properties.
Let's spin back the clock and look at them one by one.
That's a good way of focusing on what you like and don't like.
We can look at the first one, which was the cottage with the stables.
I liked the cottage. I thought it was very quaint, very cosy.
When I went inside it was very homely.
The summer room on the back was superb.
Done to the highest spec.
The kitchen was done to a high spec as well.
-We did like the stables.
-The stables and the paddock at the back.
Then we went to the Swedish style house.
A contemporary property, which is not what you'd asked for.
What are your thoughts about that now?
I love the openness, the underfloor heating, the solar panels, that aspect of the building.
I really enjoyed, when you walked through the front door,
it was natural open space, I love that.
-I like the back of the house.
-The one facing the garden?
The garden was just immaculate.
Beautiful, the sort of garden I would want. It was lovely.
-It was the open space...?
-Yes. It was probably a little bit too modern for me inside.
But on the whole, it was a lovely property.
The coach house, that seemed to reduce you almost to tears, Jackie.
Yes. I thought that was amazing.
It was idyllic. It was just a beautiful building.
-Ticked all the boxes.
An old cottage but contemporary internals. That coach house had it.
The garden wasn't as big as we're looking for but that's the compromise we're prepared to make
because of the coach house.
The mystery house was completely different.
It was slightly radical showing you an apartment.
-What are your thoughts now?
-It was a grand apartment.
I think what it's done for us,
is cemented our minds that, yeah, we live in an apartment now...
If we were looking for an apartment, that would be ideal.
It's cemented our minds that, yes, we definitely want a house
with our own garden where we can live alone.
-Can I ask what's going to happen next?
What I'd like to do is to explore Shropshire a little bit more.
-And, hopefully, sell our apartment quite quickly.
-If we sell the apartment, we'll definitely go back and look at the coach house.
I hope you sell it instantly
and that you don't linger too long before you put an offer in because it seemed to ring all your bells.
-Yeah, it did.
-It would be a very proud moment if we were the reason you move up here.
-We'll let you know if we move in.
-Well, all the best.
-And I'm glad that we've moved you up to Shropshire, at least in spirit.
What a feather in our cap that would be if Jackie and Steve
sell their apartment and buy that beautiful coach house.
If you'd like an entree into rural living, tune in for another edition
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Alistair Appleton is in Shropshire as a couple with a budget of £400,000 hope to ditch their urban apartment in favour of village life. After three years without a garden they are itching to find a rural retreat in which to flex their green fingers. Meanwhile, Alistair visits Boscobel House where he gets shown one of Charles II's famous hiding places.