Alistair Appleton visits Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria. The house hunters he meets want a period home with a budget of 400,000 pounds, but a modern house proves tempting.
Browse content similar to Cumbria. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
On the first weekend in June for the last 300 years
horse traders from all over Europe have come to this town
and washed their horses in this river
before they start selling them.
Find out where I am
and what particular horse traders I'm talking about
on Escape To The Country.
On today's show we're hoping a couple exchange
the Cambridgeshire suburbs for a glorious country life.
I love it. I love it. I absolutely love it.
But they can't believe the prices.
-Are you sure, Alistair?
I'm sure. I don't make mistakes.
'And the excitement doesn't stop there.'
It was almost the time for high fives
and jumping up and down around the house.
'Does that mean they've found their dream property?
'We'll find out later.'
Today I'm in Cumbria in the town of Appleby
which, since the time of James II, has hosted a horse fair
which has been a Mecca for Romany folk who travel all over the UK
and from Europe, gather here once a year to meet their family,
do a little horse dealing and maybe a little courtship.
So I'm hoping there's going to be a perfect partnership, too,
between country lovers and their ideal property on the show today.
It's impossible not to be drawn to this wild and dramatic landscape.
Made up from the old counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland,
parts of North Lancashire and North Yorkshire,
Cumbria is England's second-largest county and is best known as the home
of Britain's biggest National Park, The Lake District.
Although it gained park status in 1951,
tourists were hitting the Lakeland trails at least 100 years earlier,
following the publication of a guide book
penned by one of the region's most famous sons, William Wordsworth.
Not only a poet but a forward-thinker,
as he suggested it become a sort of national property as early as 1835.
Today, 8.3 million visitors descend on the Lakes each year.
But head east in Cumbria
and you can swap crowds for cows as this largely rural region
is home to countless farms, pretty stone villages and market towns.
When it comes to property prices, Cumbria is split in two.
While, of course, it's beautiful to live inside
the Lake District National Park, it's also quite expensive
cos across the country as a whole house prices are about £257,000,
which is just a couple of thousand pounds
more than the national average.
But if you live inside the National Park, prices can jump up 15-25%.
So a big spread of prices but some beautiful properties.
Take a look.
As horses are certainly a theme in Cumbria,
this coach house in Casterton
is the perfect place to hitch up your wagon.
The regal exterior is complemented by the inviting
formal reception room, modern kitchen and spacious dining area.
A stroll in the woods behind the house can only be beaten
by a long relax in your rather stately bathroom.
This property will certainly break your stride at £1.15 million.
Or how about something more modern?
Sitting on a hill within beautiful landscaped gardens,
this £750,000 property comes with a plush pond for your fish
and your living quarters aren't too shabby either -
a spacious kitchen and large contemporary living room.
At a more modest £350,000,
you could be enjoying the dramatic views of Keswick at The Joinery,
a classic setting for this free-standing stone-built cottage
with period features like original beams
framing the open-plan living area and kitchen.
Some of Cumbria's finest, inside and outside of the National Park.
But we have another three tucked up our sleeve for today's house buyers.
So let's meet them.
Retirees Pat and Lyn have been happily married
for an impressive 44 years
and since 2002 have lived in their five-bedroom house on a development in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
But having watched a certain TV programme, they're both now agreed
it's time to make a break for the country.
We'd like to go to Cumbria. We've seen...
We watch Escape To The Country.
We've seen some of the properties
and we would hope that we could get a nice property up there
which we may not be able to afford in this part of the world
but up in Cumbria, hopefully we could.
Neither Pat nor Lyn have ever visited Cumbria before
so they're taking quite a gamble.
But they're not complete novices to country life.
I was born in Tipperary in Ireland
and that's a very rural part of the world
and we go back every year
for our holidays in Tipperary.
And I think that says it all.
We like the peace and quiet of a rural area.
Yes. This move is all about getting a bit of hush.
This garden backs on to six other gardens
and when we first moved in, there were no children.
Now we have about eight and they're all very noisy
and since then, four people have acquired dogs
and they're very noisy.
So we cannot sometimes sit out in the garden.
So that's why I would really like to move to the peace and quiet.
OK. So it's clear it's a quiet location we'll be looking for.
What other criteria do they have in mind
for their new peaceful country pad?
I would like a very large kitchen.
The kitchen that I've got at the moment is about 21 foot long
but I would like a nice big, square kitchen.
Also I would like five bedrooms, a utility room, two en-suites,
a conservatory, a lounge and a separate dining room
and a double garage.
Gardening is graft but I find it therapeutic.
I enjoy my rose garden and in the new property,
hopefully I could have a rose garden there and hopefully with a bigger garden
it would also be more peaceful and quiet.
With their house already on the market for a healthy £350,000,
these two are raring to make the move.
But how much are they planning to spend?
If we were lucky enough in Cumbria to find a property that ticks all our boxes,
our budget would be £350,000,
at a stretch going up to £400,000.
We are looking for a property for Pat and Lyn
in a county they've never actually been to.
So not only do they have to love the property,
but they've got to fall in love with Cumbria as well.
Now, they have a handsome budget but they also have quite a wish list -
four to five bedrooms, big kitchen and a big garden.
So we're going to be looking outside of the National Park
but as you can see, it's still very beautiful.
We're focusing today's search in the countryside around Appleby
in the Eden Valley, just east of the National Park and where we should find
the perfect combination of peace and quiet and value for money.
We've lined up some smashing houses to view over the next two days,
including a mystery house,
which is almost as green as the gorgeous landscape it sits in.
-Welcome to Cumbria.
-You've never been here before?
So what made you choose this area to buy in?
-We saw this area on the show.
And we decided we liked it so we'd give it a try.
So it really works?
-Yes, it does.
-Was it one of my shows?
-I do believe it was.
First impressions? I know we've not been here long.
It's lovely and it's peaceful and it's lovely and green.
Because peace and quiet is what you're looking for?
Tranquillity, in a word.
Have you done any looking on the internet?
Have you looked at prices here?
No, no, we're not on the internet.
So we use local estate agents
and we applied to come on the programme.
And here we are today.
The National Park does have a premium on it, I have to warn you.
Inside the Lake District National Park it's quite expensive,
but outside of the National Park there are bargains,
or things to be bought in your budget, cos that's a healthy budget.
Are you looking forward to this move?
-Is it something you've been planning for a while?
Good, let's make it happen.
-We'll to have to start by looking at houses. Come on.
-That'd be good.
OK, time for a recap.
For a top budget of £400,000, Pat and Lyn
would like a detached four to five bedroom house
with a big kitchen, a lounge and a separate dining room.
Used to a conservatory, they'd like another one
and Pat is after a manageable garden that won't be too much hard graft.
I have to say it all sounds very doable
so let's hope we come up smelling of roses.
For our first viewing, we're heading to Sandford.
This Eden Valley village is not only pretty as a picture,
it's peace and quiet personified.
So it should be spot on, although there is one pub,
if Lyn and Pat feel like a wild night out.
So this is the house I want to show you.
Well, it's a bungalow. First thoughts on bungalows?
I don't mind a bungalow.
No, I like the look of it. It's a lovely bungalow.
I particularly like the stonework there,
that's striking and it's a very quiet area, isn't it?
It's very quiet.
Sandford's a good spot because this road
goes down to a farm so there's no through traffic.
And on this close there are four bungalows
and it's all sort of mature dwellers.
There's no teenagers, no kids, no noise.
Just what I'm looking for.
That's music to my ears - very quiet music, obviously.
I think they're going to love the interior too.
Built in 1987, it's been extended a few times.
So it's a lot bigger than its diminutive exterior might suggest.
So come into the main sitting room.
This is the sort of heart of the home.
All the other rooms have come off this room.
-It's a nice size.
-It is a nice size.
But essentially it's quite a sort of stately sitting room
because it's all built around the hearth.
-I like it.
-I can see myself sitting here in the winter.
So come across here - this is an extension that they
put on in around 2005 to make the most of these incredible views.
-Which are very nice.
-Beautiful. Beautiful outlook.
How does it make you feel, being here?
That I'd like to stay here.
-That's a good sign.
-You too, Pat?
Homely, yes I find it homely but that is the most beautiful view and to sit there
and look out at it, at any of the four seasons, beautiful.
Let's continue the tour. This takes us into the kitchen wing, because this is
an extension that they put in, the first extension actually, 2001.
So this is kind of extended again out
because everything about the extensions is all about the view.
The more views of the garden the better, from what I see.
-Yeah, I like it.
-So you can imagine retiring here?
-Yes, I can.
I've only shown you two rooms! Here's the kitchen.
-Well this is your domain, isn't it, Lyn?
-Yes, it is.
What's nice is, it is a kitchen-diner.
So there's this sort of dining space here.
The kitchen-breakfast room I've got now
is about 21 foot long and it is wider than this
but you always have to consider everything.
Indeed you do.
Although this is a large kitchen Lyn seems to have her heart set
on something more square in shape.
But conveniently situated off this kitchen is the utility room
and a good-sized bathroom, complementing the master bedroom.
So, this is the master bedroom.
This is lovely.
What are you looking for in a bedroom?
Storage and a lot of room.
-So does this fit the bill in terms of room and space?
It's got a nice feel about it.
-The whole bungalow has a very restful, peaceful feel about it.
There are plenty more bedrooms on the other side of the house,
three off the main hallway, including two good-size doubles
and a further family bathroom.
Now, this is, I think, a very nice bedroom.
This is a nice size again, nice and light.
It's a lovely room.
You've also got the extension, if you follow me here.
What's striking about this is that this extension belongs to this bedroom.
This was again the last part of the extensions that they put on.
It used to be a conservatory but they turned it into a beautiful winter garden.
It's very nice.
Yes, it's clever what they've one.
Well, I think the interior is a success.
Now let's see if the garden will be
the oasis of tranquillity our retirees are so desperate for.
So, Pat, this is your domain, the garden.
-What do you think?
In a word, beautiful, it really is lovely.
It's not overwhelming? You could manage this?
I've got four grandchildren.
-They'll have working holidays here.
There's potting sheds, a garage,
-plenty of space to keep all the tools.
It's a good-size plot
and a handsome bungalow - what do you think it costs?
I would say probably around £350,000.
OK, what about you, Pat?
I'd go along with Lyn but if we're going to have a margin,
then 350 to 375.
It's a bit more expensive than that. It's on the market for 395.
So, it's at the top of your budget.
Walk inside have a look around and I'll meet you out the front.
-Lovely, thank you.
-Thank you, Alistair.
They will get a lot of bungalow for £395,000.
The kitchen isn't quite measuring up to size for Lyn
but she seems very happy with the peace and quiet
of the surroundings and the beautiful views.
I think we're off to a great start.
What I've seen of this bungalow and this area today,
it offers us the peace and quiet that we're craving for.
One thing that you have gone on about quite a bit
is the separate dining room and you won't have it here.
I do like a separate dining room.
But maybe one of the extensions would make a nice dining room.
I believe it would.
To be looking out on those views,
it'd be worth it to be in any of those rooms as a dining room.
-I agree with you on that, Pat.
-So it's not really the be-all and end-all.
-Not that essential when it comes down to it.
I think Pat and I would both be happy in this bungalow.
We both like it so much.
I have to drag you out of the bungalow
cos we've got another property to look at.
Whilst Cumbria is most famous for the Lakes,
if aquatic or climbing pursuits aren't a priority,
there's lots to explore outside the National Park.
Well worth a visit is Kendal, often dubbed the southern gateway to the Lakes.
It's best known for its very sweet mint cake,
but this small town has a rich architectural heritage
normally only to be found in much larger towns and cities,
including not one but two Norman castles, a church,
which is just a few feet narrower than the mighty York Minster,
and a whole host of Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian public buildings.
As first-time visitors to Cumbria,
Pat and Lyn were keen to get a taste of a traditional Cumbrian town.
So earlier in the week, they trekked off to Kendal
where local town guide Claire Feeney kindly offered to show them around.
-Hello, Claire, nice to meet you.
Hello, Claire, very nice to meet you.
-Shall I go and take you to see some of our yards?
Yes please, that'd be great.
From the 14th to the 19th centuries,
it wasn't mint cake that earned the townspeople a crust but wool.
In fact, the town's motto is still, "Pannus mihi panis,"
literally meaning, "Wool is my bread."
The industry left an indelible mark on the vernacular of the town,
which is characterised by a network of narrow lanes and streets
called yards running off the main thoroughfare.
Houses lined the yards providing accommodation for the wool workers,
and at one time there were around 150 yards in Kendal.
So this is Yard 83 or more locally known as Dr Manning's Yard.
Dr Manning was a local physician in the area
and the development behind would have been the cottages or the residential area.
Earlier on than Dr Manning, they would have been formed as part of the dyers -
the dyers would have worked here to dye the wool for the woollen industry.
-Would the workers have had to have paid rent for the cottages?
This would have been a residential area,
but the woollen trade was all done in cottage industry.
So they would have had to have paid the normal sort of rents.
However, it's not just the architecture that's well preserved here.
A familiar sight in Kendal is this 1940s bus, the Kendal Klipper.
It's a great way to take in the town's many delights
whilst preserving your feet.
For the past ten years, the town council has paid
for the Klipper to run as a free service for nine weeks every summer.
Knowing it's peace and quiet Pat and Lyn are after,
we asked the driver to drop them off at Levens Hall,
an Elizabethan mansion with a Grade I listed garden
that boasts some of the oldest and most valuable topiary in the world.
Where does topiary originate from?
Well, it's a Latin name, really.
It's probably the first form of gardening,
shaping trees and shrubs into funny shapes.
It was popular then thousands of years ago
and it's sort of gone in and out of popularity.
When this garden was laid out in the 1690s, it was THE fashion to have in your garden.
So the new man at the big house here at Levens Hall
brought in a French garden designer to lay out
the latest in fashion in his garden and this is what remains.
Fashions changed, everybody had Capability Brown lakes
-and parks and trees put in, but Levens - it never got swept away.
Thank goodness the owners of Levens down the centuries weren't at the cutting edge -
excuse the pun - of horticultural trends,
otherwise this beautiful 300-year-old garden would have been lost for ever.
Well, it's back to the business of finding a property.
Next up we're off to Blencarn.
Also situated in the Eden Valley,
Cross Fell looms over this pretty village, giving many of the homes here
Lake District views without the sky-high price tags.
And there's some very attractive housing stock, with many properties dating from the 1800s.
Come and take a look from the front.
This could be your home.
-Quite different, isn't it?
-It's very different.
-Yes, it is.
It's sandstone, which is the local building material,
and this brick was built in about 1895,
and at that time brick was a posh thing.
So they put all the brick on the front. The rest of the house is actually stone.
-It looks lovely.
-Shall we look inside?
'Once again, Pat and Lyn are rather positive about the outside.
'Let's hope that continues with the inside.'
So here is your kitchen, Lyn.
Slightly different from the last one.
-It's certainly wider.
-Yes. It's a lot wider.
And as you can see, it was originally two rooms.
This was a dividing wall and they've opened it up to make it one big sort of kitchen/diner space.
Is it going to be big enough for you?
-Maybe. I have to give it careful thought.
-It'd be OK when there's just the two of us here.
But I'm not sure when the family's here.
What would be a problem, then?
Well, for a start, not just for them,
Pat doesn't like the table in the middle of the kitchen.
You don't like the table in the kitchen?
I prefer people to have access to be able to move around.
-Right. So you could take that out, then, presumably, could you?
-That would give you more room.
-I mean, it is designed as a kitchen-diner.
Do you not like that idea?
I think I'm going to have to get used to it.
Or there is another room which you could co-opt as your dining room.
This used to be, well, the main sitting room of the house before it was extended.
You've got a lovely... The original fireplace. So that's your new surround
but it's the original tiles from the Victorian property.
And they've turned this into a through room,
-but you could if you like make this the dining room.
It would make a nice quiet room, a nice reading room.
Difficult to know what to do with the rooms until you've seen them. This is a very impressive room.
This is the new extension that they added just two years ago.
-Another nice-size room.
-It is a very nice size.
And you've got this fantastic conservatory that backs onto it.
-I know you love a conservatory.
-I do like the conservatory.
What are your thoughts about your house? You're being quite tight-lipped.
Are you liking it or not liking it?
I like the size of the rooms, the high ceilings, the walls.
-I like that.
-What do you think, Lyn?
-I'm getting more used to it.
-You weren't so impressed?
-It's growing on me.
-You weren't so impressed at the beginning?
I don't think I imagined the table being in the kitchen like that before I came in.
All right. So that threw you a bit.
-It did, because we've never had a table in any of our kitchens.
So it did throw me a bit.
'I'm realising that a separate dining area is key to Lyn's dream layout,
'which is certainly possible here.
'Onwards and upwards to the bedrooms.'
You've got four bedrooms upstairs. They all have these phenomenal views.
Those views are absolutely stunning.
I couldn't agree more, they are beautiful.
Off the hallway is a vast family bathroom, a single bedroom
and a good-size double.
Actually before we go into the master bedroom,
you can see this was an extra room, but they've taken down this wall to give themselves a study.
Good idea, cos Pat likes a study.
Yes, a nice size study as well.
You could put a few shelves up there, a telephone in there as well.
Telephone. Not mobile.
-Not mobile, no.
-All mod cons(!)
Just books. Let's look in here.
Now this is really the master,
I would say, cos it's got an en-suite and a walk-in wardrobe.
Can you imagine using this as your master bedroom?
It's a beautiful double-aspect room and again views!
-Views to wake up to.
The house has grown on me.
The more I've seen inside the more I like it.
'I think deservedly so because it's a lovely home.
'Now let's see if the outside space will seal the deal.
'Most of the garden is at the front but there's also a brick-built shed and a greenhouse.'
Well, the garden really is, I think, a jewel because it's very private,
but it's also quiet manageable. It's not enormously big.
It's a nice garden and I like the way it's enclosed all the way round. Yeah, I like it.
It's an L-shaped garden.
This is where the main bulk of the lawn and flowers are,
but down the side you've got a veggie garden with currants and rhubarb
and space for lettuce and potatoes to the left.
Yeah. Yeah, I could manage that.
Now money. How much is this fine, handsome property worth?
I think it must be on the market for at least £390,000.
I'll say 395.
Well, in that case you're going to be pleasantly surprised
cos this is on the market for 375.
So £20,000 under what you estimated.
And a lot of house for the money as well.
-A lot of house, yeah.
-As we were saying when we were going round the house - it grows on you.
-I'd better send you back in, then.
At £375,000, this modernised Victorian house is 25,000
under the maximum budget and needs nothing doing to it whatsoever.
The pretty garden is entirely manageable
but Pat could put his green fingers to use
in the vegetable garden if he so desires.
The Lakeland views are absolutely priceless.
But will that kitchen table have scuppered our chances?
This house grew on me. The more I went into every room the more I liked it.
I think I was taken aback by the kitchen having the table in there.
That threw me a bit.
But then I thought, "Well, you can always take a table out of the kitchen."
I actually think this is better than our conservatory at home.
Yeah, I'd agree with that, yeah.
This has been made much better, and I could sit in here for ages,
and I'd read my books, then I would look up at the views,
-then I'd let you go and make me a nice cup of coffee or a cold drink.
-Yeah, or a gin and tonic.
That's more like it.
A lot of work has gone into this place and I liked what I saw.
It'll be interesting to see what they think about this house.
Either they're having their cards really close to their chest
or they've been struck down by the wonder of it all.
-I'm very intrigued to know what you think about this house,
whether you like it more or less than the bungalow.
But we can discuss it elsewhere. Come with me.
As twilight turns to night over the two very different roofs of our Cumbrian properties,
Pat and Lyn have plenty to weigh up.
But coming up next is our mystery house,
-a property that's pretty green.
-An excellent idea. I love the ideas we're hearing.
But will high-tech really impress our low-tech couple in the end?
Only time will tell.
Day two and it did seem that Pat and Lyn responded very positively
to Cumbria and the two houses we showed them yesterday.
In fact, so positively, I was a bit surprised, maybe a bit suspicious,
whether they're keeping their cards to their chest
because it seemed that they liked everything pretty much in equal measure.
So it'll be interesting to see what they make of the mystery house, cos this is quite different.
What do you think the mystery house might involve, Lyn?
-Well, I'm hoping that maybe it will be a barn conversion...
-..or a new build.
Why those two? Are those things that you're looking for?
-They are things that I'd be interested in.
But part of the fun is trying to guess before you get there what the mystery house will look like.
Well, I think it looks pretty good.
We're heading to the East Cumbrian town of Cliburn.
Most of the houses here date from the 18th and 19th century
and historically the community has grown up around farming,
though it's a landscape of green fields and hills.
And the mystery house is almost as green.
It's a low-energy sustainable house in a close of three similar properties.
-Here's the mystery house.
It's not a church, not a barn conversion.
But you were right, Lyn. It is a new build, cos this is actually one year old.
It's not quite a green house in terms of...
It's not completely green, but it's as good as.
It's an extremely environmentally energy-efficient dwelling.
-I like the look of it.
Let's go out the back and I can show you some more features.
'All the bricks, slate and timbers in this house are reclaimed.
'But I think it's the energy and money-saving green aspects that Lyn and Pat will appreciate.'
Look at these amazing views.
-Again, we haven't short-changed you on views on this show, have we?
-You have not.
What I want to point out are the things on the roof.
This is a huge bank of solar panels which, when the sun is shining,
they generate electricity. And the electricity that you don't use -
for example, on a day like today - gets sold back to the National Grid.
So you actually make money, the money comes off your bill.
So overall in the whole year, your electricity bill
-for the property is around £100 to £150.
-That is excellent.
-You see the silver panel up there?
That's what they call a photovoltaic cell
and that does your hot water. So all your water is done
when the sun's shining by that little chap up there.
-Let's look inside.
'They seem to like the green credentials, but what will they make of the interior?'
Let's come into the... This is the main space downstairs.
You can see it's unfurnished, but that's good, right?
-You can see your furniture here more easily?
-Yes, I can. It's a lovely big room. I like the beam.
I like the window sills.
-That's actually an interesting point because you can see here how thick the walls are.
They're all about almost a foot thick, and they're stuffed
with recycled newspaper, which is treated against fire and rodents.
So the house is incredibly well insulated.
The idea being that actually you don't need to heat houses if you've got all these windows.
They're double glazed and they've got argon gas between the panes of glass which stops the heat
escaping in the winter and stops the heat coming in in the summer.
On a hot day like today it's lovely and cool in here.
The reason for that is because we have what they call energy exchangers.
See these little circular vents? This is what they call a heat exchange system.
So it takes the stale hot air out and brings fresh cool air in
if you need it to be cooler. But in the winter, for example,
you don't want it to be too cold, so it takes the heat from the hot air
-and warms up the cool air coming in. So you get fresh warm air.
-That's a very good idea.
I've not heard of that in a house before.
These houses are obviously something of the future. Excellent idea. I love the ideas we're hearing.
Good ideas. Let's look at the kitchen.
Now this is the acid test for you, Lyn.
Will this kitchen cut the mustard?
-Definitely. But I think it's very nice.
Is it going to be big enough, though? You wanted a huge kitchen.
-I know, but I quite like what I see here.
Cos of course you have all this space as well, which is the utility room.
-But it is definitely downsizing.
-I know, but I could put up with that.
And you notice that we scrupulously removed the table.
There was a table for eight here but we took it out.
I jest, of course.
But if Lyn did want to make a larger kitchen or a separate dining room,
they could knock through into the integrated garage and replace the door with windows.
But let's head upstairs. There are four bedrooms in all.
On the first floor, there are two good-sized doubles
and a family bathroom.
Now, all the bedrooms upstairs are empty,
but this is the master bedroom, cos it's got an en-suite.
-This view is nice.
Even though you're looking over the roofs there, you can still see
the scenery and further into the distance. It really is lovely.
And then you've got another floor to explore, very excitingly.
We're up in the eaves. This is, well, the fourth bedroom.
It could be a study.
It could be something for the grandchildren.
I think this would be ideal for the grandchildren.
And here, this is the nerve centre
of your very green, energy-efficient house,
because this is where the heat-conversion unit lives.
This is the one, do you remember the one that takes out the stale hot air
-and brings in the fresh cool air?
-It's nicely tucked away.
Well, that's it for the house.
Let's turn our attention outside. What you see is what you get.
The garden is all at the front of the house.
However, it does come with a pre-dug veggie patch.
So, self-sufficiency thrown in, too.
But how much will this eco lifestyle set them back?
Oh, Alistair, I'm frightened to guess.
I think it's way, way over budget. I think it would be at least 425,000.
What do you think, Pat?
I'm going to hope it's 400, and a lot less.
-400 and a lot less?
Well, erm, yes, you're right, it is a lot less than 400.
This is on the market for 325.
-Are your sure, Alistair?
I'm sure. I don't make mistakes.
£325,000 will get you this very energy-efficient house.
I can't believe the price of the house.
I love it when people say that when I tell them the price. I'm happy.
Why don't you go in and have a look round,
-and then we'll meet out the front?
Our eco mystery house seems to be a huge hit.
On the market for £325,000, it's £75,000 under budget,
and although the smallest of our properties, it still has
a large open living/dining area, a modern kitchen and four bedrooms.
It's also incredibly energy efficient,
and Pat can even put his gardening skills to work
in the attached veggie patch.
They love our futuristic energy house,
but will it be part of their future?
The mystery house has really been a mystery,
and I must admit, I really do like it, and I know Pat likes it as well.
I love it. I love it. I absolutely love it.
And the lounge here, what a lovely... Yeah, what a lovely size.
When Alistair mentioned the figure of 325,
it was almost the time for high fives
and jumping up and down around the house.
I'll have to drag them out. Pat, Lyn? It's a very good sign.
Nice to have to drag you out of the mystery house.
That's fine. We've had a good look round.
-Good look round.
-Like what we see.
-You do, yes?
-Lyn, you seem very struck by it.
I'm impressed with the kitchen as well.
I said I would not have a smaller kitchen than what I've got,
but I'm taken with the kitchen in there.
-I've won you over?
-You have. Definitely.
Well, you don't have to make any decisions right now,
cos we're going to go and cool down a bit,
and then we can discuss all properties in order.
Think of Cumbria and most of us will picture lakes and fells
or tourists and cake shops. Few of us will think about gypsies.
However, for one week of every year for well over 300 years,
one small town on the banks of the River Eden has played host
to the most important annual event of the Romany calendar -
the Appleby Horse Fair. Historically, gypsies have bred high-quality workhorses
known as coloured or cob horses to pull caravans
and to trade with farmers for centuries.
And to encourage this, in 1685 King James II granted
Britain's Romany gypsies a charter, licensing a yearly fair
in the small town of Appleby, where they could trade horses. They've been doing that ever since.
According to official figures,
there are 100,000 Romany gypsies in the UK, and each summer,
this is where they congregate, for both business and pleasure.
I've never had the chance to experience gypsy culture up close,
and was intrigued to find out more.
So, during the week, I headed to Appleby to meet up
with one of the most senior Romany men, Billy Welch.
-Thank you for taking time out,
cos I know this is your busiest time of the year.
-Not a problem.
-Now you're the shura'rom?
Head gypsy. Shura is head, rom is gypsy.
In every single area, there's a spokesman or a representative
or the head of the family, and the word for it is shura'rom.
-I'm the shura'rom on Appleby Fair.
-So, you're the boss here?
-I'm the boss.
-What does Appleby mean for the Romany people?
This place is absolutely sacred to us. It is literally our Mecca.
It's unique on Planet Earth, is Appleby Fair,
and it's the only place where the gypsies can come
and practice their culture, their way of life, traditions
and meet up with family and friends what they haven't seen probably from
the Appleby Fair before that. It's, like, instinctive.
It gets to that time of the year, you don't ask if anybody is going -
everybody turns up. It's where young people do their courting.
I notice also that the courtship basically seems to take the form
of all the lads sort of on their horses with their shirts off,
and all the girls sort of like...
"Look at me, I've got the best horse and I'm the best rider."
And the young girls all dressed up, parading up and down
like a fashion parade. Yeah, like they're on a catwalk.
It's a delicate balance, isn't it, what you do here,
trying to make the fair work, keep your people happy,
keep the locals happy - how does that all work?
Well, to be truthful with you, Alistair, the meetings I go to -
and I go to quite a lot of meetings -
80% of it is about the settled community,
trying to make them happy. We've gone a long way
to improving relationships
between the settled community and our people.
Each year, it's getting better.
And they're enjoying it more, and we're enjoying it more.
As it is a horse fair, it's fair to assume horses play a big part
in the festivities. Gypsies know how to keep
their four-legged friends looking their best,
from presenting the horses in their finest riding gear
to washing them in the local River Eden.
What goes on at the river is one of the most striking things
about the fair. So Billy and I went to have a closer look.
Billy, this is possibly one of the most magical things I've ever seen.
Before they take them onto the corner to sell them,
they bring them down here and they wash them
in the river, wash them down, lather them up with soap powder
and shampoo, and get them all lathered up,
and then they ride them into the deep water and swill them down.
-It just looks so primal, and I've never seen anything like it.
-We've been doing this
ever since we arrived in this country, 500 years ago.
We've been bringing the horses here to wash them.
Once the horses are looking their best, they're shown off on the streets,
and one place that's a favourite
with the locals and the gypsies alike is known as the Flashing Lane.
If you want to buy a speed horse, or sell one, this is where you come to buy and sell them.
How fast do they go?
They go up to 40 miles an hour, some of these speed horses.
-So it's like taking it for a test spin?
-Taking it for a test drive.
Not sure I'm ready to take a test drive on the back of a horse
at 40 miles an hour, but the fair itself is truly remarkable.
Pat and Lyn have also been looking to make a deal
after trotting around three properties.
They've experienced Cumbria in all its glory,
but have any of the houses impressed them enough to saddle up
and make that all-important move to the country?
Well, a surprise barrel of enthusiasm for the mystery house
means that it looks like maybe that will take the Cumbrian biscuit.
Let's find out which one they choose.
Here you are, and you've picked a typically beautiful spot,
because Cumbria's really come up trumps
on the quiet countryside front, hasn't it?
It definitely has. I could sit and listen to the birds singing all day.
The birds are almost deafening here.
But it's a good spot to kind of collect our thoughts.
It's easier if we go through the houses one by one,
and then we can talk about those in turn.
The first one I showed you was the bungalow.
Originally, I fell in love with the bungalow.
I saw us living there, but not now.
Ah, things have changed!
I liked the bungalow. I liked the way it had been set out,
the extensions that they'd done, which overlooked the rear garden.
So, the second house was a big property.
It was a very big property. But I just don't think it was right for us.
I liked the size of the rooms. A lot of work done on that house,
and it grew on me. As you went to the staircase and went up,
the house grew on me, but...
You didn't like the table in the kitchen? That was almost a deal breaker for you?
It was, cos I know Pat won't have a table in the kitchen.
So it all went wrong with the table in the kitchen.
What about the mystery house, though? Because that seemed to really enchant you both.
When I saw the mystery house, I liked the look from the outside,
but when we went inside, I just fell in love with it.
It was beautiful inside.
Looking back, can you pinpoint what it is
that you love about it so much?
Well, strangely enough, I loved the kitchen.
I always said I would not have a kitchen smaller than I've got.
But I just feel that one is right for me.
I like the mystery house very much, top to bottom.
So, I've kind of got a good guess
which you might say is your favourite,
but which one was your favourite?
-Definitely the mystery house.
-Said without a hesitation!
-Pat, do you agree?
-I do agree, by a distance.
What might happen next? I know that you're waiting to sell your house.
I mean, are you so convinced by the beauties of Cumbria
that you'd move up here?
I really hope to move up to Cumbria, and into that mystery house.
And it's so green and peaceful.
What more could you want than listen to the birds singing?
Well, I hope it all happens.
I hope your house sells lickety-split
and that you come up to this beautiful countryside
and can indeed enjoy the birdsong.
Thank you, Alistair.
That was one of the most extraordinary house hunts
I've ever been involved with here in Escape.
Pat and Lyn, never been to Cumbria before,
only seen it on the telly, suddenly converted,
as if the scales had dropped from their eyes,
when they saw the mystery house.
That's the sort of result we like on the show.
So, make sure you join us next time for more Escape To The Country.
If you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland,
Northern Ireland, Wales or England and would like our help,
please apply online at bbc.co.uk/beonashow.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Alistair Appleton is visiting Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria. The house hunters he meets are after a period home with a budget of 400,000 pounds, but surprisingly the ultra-modern eco-friendly mystery house gets a very warm reception.