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Today we're in a county which amongst other things is famous for these medieval churches.
They're also uniquely round towered so why were they built like this and where am I?
Well, join me in just a few moments and I'll tell you.
On today's show, we're in cahoots with a couple wishing to escape
chaotic town life in Buckinghamshire.
Not only does it promise to be a real journey of discovery...
It was very different to anything I've had before.
..but there'll also be a few firsts along the way.
Never in our lives have we looked at an older property.
So it's out with the new and in with the old.
-We got a "wow!"
The first "wow" of the week!
Well, today I'm in Norfolk and this is just one of the 126 round towered churches
that the region is famous for. But why round?
Well, if you think about it, if you're going to build square towers,
you need nice big slabs of stone.
Norfolk is not famous for its quarries but it is well-known for this stuff, for flint,
a material that really lends itself
to creating these great big tubular structures
and they've gone on to inspire the faithful
and generations of architectural historians for centuries.
Bordering Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk,
Norfolk is the largest of the counties
that originally made up the area of East Anglia.
Stretching out to the north and east are 100 miles of sweeping coast
with wide expanses of sandy beaches,
flanked by grassy dunes, much of which have been designated
as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There's an old saying that Norfolk people
have one foot on the land and one in the sea.
Moving inland from its peaceful shores to the heart of the county,
you'll find the city of Norwich,
dominated by the 315 foot towering octagonal spire
of its medieval limestone cathedral.
Beyond the reach of the motorway, much of Norfolk remains an unspoilt,
tranquil place, and you'll find stunning flint properties
that characterise the Norfolk landscape.
Now, according to many local agents,
the recession has done little to dent the property prices up here
in fashionable north Norfolk, in particular this so-called
golden triangle that runs between Burnham Market, Fakenham and Holt,
is running at a record high.
But step outside of that particular property hotspot
and the picture is a little bit rosier.
Your average detached will set you back around about £220,000,
a cool 45 grand under the national average.
So as you can see, beautiful houses at affordable prices.
At £250,000 this brick and flint semi-detached cottage in Sporle
paints a pretty picture.
It features three double bedrooms, a smart sitting room, a fully fitted
country kitchen/breakfast room,
and the large garden boasts fruit trees as well as a veggie plot.
Or further north in Choseley, £400,000 is the price tag attached
to this three-bedroom barn conversion.
It comes with a rustic freestanding kitchen diner.
And the focus of the sitting room has to be its fireplace,
complete with wood burner.
And finally, for £800,000, you'll get a serious amount of house
in the form of this imposing grade two listed residence
in the village of Setchey.
The impressive accommodation includes eight enormous bedrooms,
a selection of grand reception rooms
and extensive far-reaching grounds with mature trees and shrubs.
Well, take it from somebody who grew up in East Anglia,
Norfolk is a wonderful part of the world and will, I hope,
provide a very welcome home to today's buyers.
Meet David, a self-employed tax consultant
and his wife Marion, a retired bookkeeper
who've lived in their 1960s home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire,
for the last 15 years.
But they're now keen to shake off the hustle and bustle
of their urban surroundings
in favour of a roomier rural retreat in Norfolk.
We've only ever lived in or around towns in our life and wanted to move
to a more country location just so that we'd have something different
to look forward to in retirement.
So with less time balancing the books, there'll be more time
to focus on their work-life balance
and in particular, the performing arts.
Well, we're looking forward to moving to a smaller community where we can
integrate with the local people, and we like ballroom dancing.
David also likes amateur singing.
But what do they need from the property?
Definitely want bigger bedrooms. The bedrooms here are very small.
It's very frustrating not having enough room for your clothes.
Three to four bedrooms,
an en suite to the larger bedroom, a good garden.
Preferably, I'd say, a lounge and a dining room, separate.
Yes. And it would be really nice to have a study.
-It would be nice to have a study.
-For your work.
And a largish garden of the size we've got now which is about 90 foot.
Green-fingered Marion grows a variety of fruit and vegetables
but she's desperate for more room to cook her crop.
I really like cooking and I recently went on a four-day cookery course
and I do cooking all the time
and of course, when you cook a lot
you end up with lots of pots and pans so what I would like
is a bigger kitchen to house all my kitchen equipment.
But what style of house
will be filled with the aroma of Marion's freshly-baked treats?
I certainly wouldn't want particularly
to live in an open-plan type of house
where all the rooms are together
and you haven't got doors on rooms where you can have your own space.
I'd quite like that though. I wouldn't mind an open-plan kitchen.
We have looked on television at barn conversions
and they'd be interesting
although normally they tend to be open-plan
so perhaps I'll forget I've said that.
We shall have to see.
They may have conflicting views about the layout
but they're both agreed
that the location must have good transport links.
David is partially-sighted
so I have to drive him everywhere
so we're sort of joined at the hip really.
Which is why it'd be really nice for me to have much more independence
and have a bus service that I can use
so I don't have to keep on saying,
"Are you ready to take me somewhere?"
Their house is already on the market for £369,000
so what's the final figure for David and Marion
to waltz their way from Wycombe to the Norfolk countryside?
I think if the property actually ticked all our boxes,
we would be happy to pay £350,000.
For urbanites David and Marion, this is a big move.
It's their first foray into the countryside
but if we can find a nice big kitchen and a garden
to keep Marion happy and get her creative,
and a location good enough to service the sort of amenities David needs access to,
you never know, we might stand a fair chance
of finding them their new dream home in the country.
Good transport links are essential for our buyers, not only to give David more independence
but so they can visit their two grown-up sons in London, therefore our house search will take us
to some wonderful country villages which are well connected to Norwich
for trips into the capital.
Over the next couple of days,
we'll be taking David and Marion to see some great homes
but I'll be keeping the prices to myself until the end of each tour.
And of course, to top it off, we'll be venturing
into previously unchartered territory with the mystery house.
Well, David and Marion, welcome to a fairly drizzly Norfolk morning.
I'm told it's going to get better.
-That's good news.
-That is very good news for a house hunt.
But it is a glorious part of the world, whatever the weather is doing.
Why have you chosen it?
We have relatives in the area and we've been up to visit many times
over the years, and we thought it was a nice quiet place to live really.
And also, the links to London are good for the occasional visits
because we still like doing things like that
and so it's very much in the country but very much able to get to town places, if you like.
Just remind me of the budget.
If it was a little bit higher, we could probably stretch to 370.
But it would have to be a "Wow!"
They're all going to be wows, Marion, come on, you know!
Course they are. If it was a question of, unless you pay 370 you're not going to get it,
and we said, "Well, we really want it",
then we probably could manage that.
When you see the house you like,
you'd almost do anything, don't you, to get what you like?
That's it, you know, I mean beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Well, guys, I'm pretty optimistic about our chances of finding you something that I hope will prove
of interest and will be a workable solution to the new life that you're trying to create.
-The weather is supposed to get better.
-Let's go and see what we can find, shall we? This way, David.
So, for a slightly flexible budget of £350,000, David and Marion
are after a property that has three to four generous bedrooms
with an en suite to the master, a large kitchen diner,
two further reception rooms and ideally a separate study.
Marion wants a decent-sized garden for growing veg and the location
needs to be on the edge of a village with good transport links for David.
When was the last time you went house hunting?
16 years ago, would you believe.
It's almost exactly.
So this is the first moment in 16 years.
-It is. A whole new experience has opened up to us.
Wow. But have you looked at anything particularly historic?
No. Never. Never.
We've lived in two new houses and one,
our present house, is 50 years old.
Well, without hesitation,
we're taking our buyers straight out of their comfort zone.
Our first house takes us back a few hundred years
and it's set on the rural outskirts of Elsing.
With a pretty 14th-century church and a local pub,
Elsing is a quiet rural village
with a bus route that reaches Norwich in just under half an hour.
As for the property, we're starting off with
an attractive former farmhouse dating back to the 17th century.
Now then, Marion, what do you think?
-Looks all right.
-It does. I like the frontage.
-I do like that frontage.
-Well, it's nicely set back.
We're in a very very very quiet lane here.
-It's a lovely property, this.
-Shall we have a look?
-Come on then, follow me this way.
It's an impressive approach up to the property, a large gravel drive,
and once inside the farmhouse,
it boasts terrific period features throughout.
But this style is radically different
to what our buyers are used to.
Right, what do you think?
-Oh, it's old.
-It's very old this.
I never thought I'd have the opportunity to have an old house.
Well, now's your chance, Marion. Now's your chance.
-This is something of a corridor come dining room, as you can see.
But it leads on very nicely into this reception room.
Now then, come on in here, cos if you want cosy cottage...
-Come on in, David.
-Lovely cosy feel this has to it.
-That's another thing I've never had which is a proper fire.
-Well, I think it's the real thing, as you can see.
And size, compared to what we've got now, it's probably a little smaller.
Yeah. But it's different, isn't it? It's a square shape.
Totally different. It's square-shaped.
Would you be happy in here on a winter's day with a glass of wine?
-I think so. Definitely.
With its magnificent inglenook fireplace as the centrepiece,
the drawing room sits at the back of the property,
with a lovely stable door that leads to the back garden.
But we're heading back to the main hallway to see what Marion makes of the kitchen.
Right, Marion, this is all about you, isn't it?
So we've got to impress you with the kitchen.
-Come on in.
-Come on in, David.
-Yes. A range cooker.
I mean, it's not the biggest kitchen in the world.
-But I think, you know, very beautifully appointed.
-It is, isn't it?
-You tell me.
This is a place you're going to want to spend a lot of time in.
Yes. Yes. It's a bit small, really.
Unusually for a property of its age,
this building isn't listed, so to maximise the space for Marion,
there could be the potential to extend this area,
subject of course to planning.
As it stands, there's no doubt it's a really cosy traditional room.
Downstairs also houses the family bathroom
with an elegant freestanding roll-top bath taking centre stage.
That wraps up the ground level so time to take it up
another level, to the first floor, where there are four bedrooms.
The smallest one is presented as a snug which could make it
a good office space with a front-facing aspect.
And there's also a pretty single room as well as a light, bright double.
Now then, guys, this would be your master bedroom.
-Right. We'd probably want to put a larger bed in cos we're big wide bed people.
A lot of people are, you know, you're in good company.
Right. Certain you could get that in here, couldn't you?
This is nice though. A vaulted ceiling.
Like tall ceilings.
Gives a room, even a small room, a feeling of being bigger.
The one thing you said you did want was an en suite.
-And this has one. It's in here.
-Tucked away behind this door. There you go.
And it's got a shower, David.
-Nice big shower too.
-Exactly the sort of shower I pictured.
-For what is a modest cottage...
-..this is a very very generous en suite.
-No two ways about it.
It's safe to say that the space upstairs seems to have impressed
but back outside, I've got a surprise in store for them
which will more than make up for the possible lack of space downstairs
and unusually, it's actually attached to the neighbouring house.
Right, come on in to here.
This is really interesting.
-It's sort of self-contained.
We've got a living room, a very generous double bedroom, bathroom, and you know, kitchen area as well.
-And my mother, who's nearly 93, can't get upstairs anymore
so if she comes to stay with us,
this would be perfect, have her own space.
-I'm thinking of the boys.
They'd love it. They'd love it.
They'd love it so they didn't have to talk to their parents so much!
This self-contained annexe
would make a fantastic pied a terre for visiting family.
But with its own separate driveway, it could also offer a rental income
as the current owners use this as a holiday let.
We'll finish the tour in the back garden which is mostly laid to lawn
and fenced by mature hedges with a delightful timber summerhouse.
The garden is a bit of a blank canvas at the moment
so for our keen gardeners,
this presents a good opportunity to get creative.
But in terms of size and space,
is this the sort of size that you had in mind?
-How far does it go?
-Just to there.
Just to there.
-Yes. I mean, we could do something with it.
It would be big enough. I think it would be big enough.
We'd have to landscape it in sort of a working area, grass area.
-Vegetable area. Exactly.
-And it's got a shed and everything.
-What do you think it's worth?
I would say, because of the annexe, perhaps 360,000.
-I was going to say that.
You can agree.
Yes. I would say, perhaps, it might even be 365 or 370 even.
-You're very good.
The pair of you are very good.
-Yeah. This could be yours for £365,000.
Go and have another look around upstairs cos we really only sort of touched the surface there.
And also have a good look at that annexe and see what's on offer.
-And I'll catch up with you a little bit later.
At £365,000, our first offering is a lovely
detached 17th century farmhouse that's full of period features.
It's got four bedrooms, including a master en suite
and two reception rooms as well as a kitchen breakfast room.
Outside there's a good-sized garden
and even a separate one-bedroom self-contained annexe.
But will the quirky historic character here manage to charm
buyers who are so accustomed to straight late 20th century builds?
My first impressions were quite good.
I liked the outside. The kitchen is certainly small
but perhaps that could be altered with an extension.
-Yes, it's a nice space.
-It is, isn't it?
Nice for lettings and certainly nice for the boys when they come to visit.
It's strange because I'd never thought about living in a house like this
with exposed beams, and history going into it,
but once you sort of get into it
and get the idea round your head, it's got a nice cosy feel about it.
Out you come. Did you enjoy that one?
-Very interesting indeed.
-Very interesting and very unexpected.
-Yes. I didn't have anything like this in mind at one time.
-You're on Escape To The Country, guys.
It's always about the unexpected. You should know that by now.
I should do. I should do.
Norfolk has over 650 villages, each with its own individual character,
but the quintessentially English village of Castle Acre near Swaffham
is unusual, as it was actually founded by French invaders
back in the 11th century.
Built by one of the William the Conqueror's advisors, William de Warenne,
Castle Acre showcases a very rare and complete Norman plan settlement.
During the week, we sent David and Marion to meet local historian,
Helen Patterson, to find out more.
William de Warenne was given this land
and he founded his chief estate in Norfolk here,
and he built a site. Nothing much was known about it.
It was thought to be a Norman castle, until, in the '70s,
excavations were carried out and at that time all you could see
was this curtain wall round the top.
Everything else was buried under a mound of grass and shrubs and trees.
And what they found was very unusual.
It started as a fortified manor house,
probably the only example
-of that sort of thing happening in England if not in Europe.
For his efforts protecting the Norman realm,
de Warenne was granted numerous plots of land
but it was at Castle Acre
that he decided to build his country retreat.
Initially a two-storey country house, it was
transformed into a typically Norman castle during the civil wars of the 12th century.
But the de Warennes did more than just build a home.
They were, in fact, pioneers of Norman town planning
and gradually the area was shaped into a community.
The robust twin-towered stone bailey that still stands today
would have been the north gate to this medieval town.
But the most impressive architectural feat on this site must be the highly-decorative priory
which was home to 35 monks
and inspired by the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy, France.
We know kings came here and they would give them money
and jewellery sometimes too because
it meant that the monks would pray for them then and their souls would go up to heaven more quickly.
Romanesque, which is the Norman way of architecture,
is shown here, probably better than anywhere else in England on a ruin.
It's absolutely superb.
It is. I've never seen anything quite like it, to be honest.
The Cluniac Order worshipped on a very grand scale
and their love of decoration is reflected in the extensive ruins.
But despite its ruined state,
what's left offers a glimpse of its former glory
and it's one of the largest and best-preserved monastic sites in England.
The priory was dissolved in 1537 but today the ruins are open
to the public, the perfect spot for some quiet contemplation.
We're travelling 12 miles south for our second property,
close to the historic market town of Wymondham.
Dotted with Elizabethan and Jacobian buildings,
Wymondham also has a medieval church
and features a half-timbered 16th century market cross in the centre.
House number two is three miles away in the village of Wicklewood.
We're stepping further forward in time to the 1800s
with our second house,
this handsome Victorian cottage lying in a quiet country lane.
Here we are, there it is. What do you think?
-It looks nice.
It's fairly substantial by the look of it.
It's very substantial. There's a lot of it.
Everything within and without is of good proportion, I would say.
What's interesting about this one for you two,
is the location.
-Wicklewood is a really busy good village.
The pub is ten minutes walk away.
-The village hall is, you know, pretty much next door
and they have their own village ballroom dancing classes.
See, I thought you'd like it.
So location I think is good.
-Transport links brilliant.
The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not you can fall in love with that building.
Yeah. That's the next step.
Can we go and have a look?
Yeah. Come on then.
Well, the possibility of a quickstep right on the doorstep
has certainly got David and Marion hotfooting it inside.
Let's see whether the interior will get them moving, starting with the sitting room.
-Marion, what do you think?
-Another cosy room. Yeah.
-I mean, we haven't got the huge inglenook of our earlier property.
Although, in some ways this feels a bit more spacious, I don't know why.
-Yes. I know exactly what... I wonder if it's because of the beams.
Possibly. Maybe, you know, less of it's fireplace because you've got that nice breast there.
That's true, yes.
With French doors opening out to the front garden, the simple uncluttered
style of the sitting room seems to be hitting the right notes.
And right across the hallway, is a similar-sized dining room.
-I think this is rather nice.
-Yes. This is a nice room.
Cosy, cottagy, but elegant at the same time. The way it's been furnished I think works a treat.
-The picture's sort of building.
-Yes. I'm getting there now.
-I think the kitchen might just finish it off down here.
Come and have a look at this, Marion. Tell me what you think.
There you go.
Oh, right, that's the kitchen.
-Yeah. Isn't it?
-That's the kitchen.
It's got loads of character, this.
It's all built in. Hand-finished kitchen.
-You know, classic kind of Belfast sink and so forth.
And then just all this space. This is lovely.
-Down here, can you see, you've got another lovely fireplace here with a wood burner in it?
-Oh, right, yes.
-Which is great.
This is more my type of kitchen.
-Is it big enough?
Things are definitely looking up with the large kitchen-diner, so time to get upstairs.
The family bathroom serves a total of four large bedrooms, one of which is set out as a twin.
Then there's another smart double guest bedroom, and the third bedroom
is kitted out as an office with a built-in desk and study space.
Then finally, of course, there's the room that David and Marion might call their own, the master bedroom.
It's got that feeling of space in a bedroom. I'm so unused to it
that it makes me think it's a nice-sized room.
I mean, I do appreciate it's going to be quite hard for you to fall in love with a property
-straightaway, because as you said in the car, this is the first time in what, 15, 16 years...
-..that you've actually looked at a property at all.
-So you've hit the ground running with us.
And never in our lives have we looked at an older property.
It remains to be seen whether we've whetted David and Marion's interest for older properties, but this house
is doing its very best and I think it could work so well for them, though I'm sure
they won't need much persuading when it comes to the superb garden.
On all sides, the house is completely enveloped by its own grounds.
It even has a little pond, attracting all manner of wildlife.
But what's more, the plot comes with a huge double-garage block which could be converted into a
separate study or even make a really useful space for David and Marion to practise their ballroom dancing.
Let's have a think about the money, then.
You went first last time, David, so, Marion?
355. Yeah. David?
I've got a feeling it's going to be a bit more than that.
-380, I would say.
That's very interesting. You're very astute, sir.
This is on the market for £375,000
so teasing the top end of the budget, obviously.
-I know you said you would go to that if it was perfect and if it wowed you.
Has it wowed you, I wonder?
-Don't answer that question just yet.
-Go and have an explore and I'll catch up with you later.
-Off you go. Enjoy.
At £375,000, our second house is a great Victorian cottage that comes
with four double bedrooms, a separate dining room, alongside a huge kitchen/breakfast room.
Outside, there's a double garage with project potential
and a large landscaped private garden.
This may be another historic property but it's a later build than our first house, with spacious
dimensions and a classic layout, more the type of home our buyers are accustomed to.
I love the idea of the front and back garden all round the house, and
the space this house has actually got would in many ways be ideal, especially with four bedrooms.
My first impression of this house was quite nice, nice square, nice looking. Very elegant looking.
I can see myself in that kitchen making food and baking cakes and entertaining guests, yes.
-Did you enjoy that one, then?
-Yes, I did.
Good. Well, it's a very, very nice house in a fantastic spot.
So as the sun sets over the famously flat Norfolk landscape, the first day of our house hunt
comes to an end.
With a budget of £350,000, town-based David and Marion want a
Norfolk home where they can finally experience some country living.
And so far our search has given them their first taste of historic houses.
But still to come, we've got the mystery property, another vintage which might be more palatable.
Look at this.
Look at the smiles!
And I'll be discovering the secrets of a secret agent.
So this is the one in which Sean Connery sat?
So having had a chance now to sleep on it, do you think
your attitude to looking at properties has changed a little bit?
-Yes, slightly, yes.
I think you've kind of opened a new world to us really.
So the mystery house has a fairly good chance of being received well?
-I think so. I think so.
And just in the distance, straight ahead of us, is the small
village of Beeston, where our mystery house lies.
Beeston is a peaceful rural place that has recently been voted Norfolk village of the year.
And our mystery house is a contemporary brick and flint
open-plan barn, parts of which date back to the 19th century.
But this type of property is something our buyers
specifically said they didn't want, so let's see if we can tempt them.
-Right, chaps, well this is the mystery house.
-That's totally different.
-Do you like it?
-I do. Can't wait to see inside.
-I mean, it's effectively a barn conversion.
OK. The old bit is this bit to our left here with these lovely arched windows in it.
-What's interesting is, that bit over there that contains
-the second storey and the garage, that's all brand new.
-It ties in exactly with...
-You'd never know.
No. Of course, it does incorporate some of the features that you'd expect in a building of this style.
-Old beams and that sort of thing.
-But with all mod cons.
-Are we getting there?
Yes. I like what I'm hearing so far.
-Great. Come on then, let's have a look inside.
Recently developed, the mystery house is
a particularly fine example of a barn conversion with a modern twist.
The layout is open-plan so let's see if they'll be open to our latest proposition.
Come on in, Marion.
-We got a "wow"!
-We got the first "wow" of the week.
-Yes. That's very nice.
-The mental picture of what we've had.
-Something like this. Yes.
-This is it, you've achieved it.
-The floor, what do you think of that?
-Now then, under-floor heating throughout.
-Oh, right, great.
-It's something else that we talked about.
-Look at the smiles!
OK. Excellent. So I think we've got there, haven't we?
-When can I have my dinner?
-Well, as soon as Marion cooks it.
-Well, come and look at this because it is a kitchen-diner,
it's obviously lacking the dining table element.
-This property is empty. It's ready for you to move into.
But you'd get a very generous dining table in there.
-And of course, you've got doors out there to the little patio.
-Yes. Very nice. That's just what I wanted.
Yeah. So you're cooking, friends are chatting.
Exactly as we'd envisaged.
-Now, reception rooms you've been challenged by, I think.
I think they've all been lovely but hopefully this one is a bit bigger for you.
-That's a lovely size.
-That is a lovely size.
-Yes. Nice fire.
-I like the fire.
-And it's a nice size.
-I like the general feel...
-It really does look nice.
-We'd get our furniture in here, no trouble.
Now, I know that you're not
traditionally sold on open-plan.
Normally I'm not. I normally say I don't want open-plan and Marion says, "But I like open-plan."
Slight argument about it.
-I know that you're loving this.
OK. What do you think, really?
This is the best compromise that I've ever seen because
-it's open-plan but it's not open-plan, because it's got this lovely feature here.
Which, as far as I'm concerned, makes all the difference.
The use of a full-height exposed brick chimney breast is an attractive and practical solution
to dividing the space up, designating clear zones for living and dining.
But at the far end of the single-storey part of the barn, a
room has been partitioned off which could make a lovely study for David.
-Lovely size. Absolutely perfect size for me, this would be.
Yeah. I can picture the desk with me sitting at it.
The thing I like about it is that it's at the end of the building.
-So once you shut the door on work, that's it.
-You haven't got to keep walking through it.
The study makes up one of the four bedrooms in this property, and
another ground floor bedroom lies in the newer wing at the opposite end, the dual aspect double room.
A good-sized utility room and modern family bathroom with
separate bath and shower cubicle can also be found down here.
And if the huge open-plan kitchen-diner wasn't enough,
there's also a separate dining room with double doors out to a patio.
But next, it's time to take the oak staircase upstairs to explore the top level.
Now, up here...
-..the final two bedrooms and this, your master bedroom.
-Also another little picture in my mind has just come to fruition.
Brilliant. We can't go wrong with this one, can we?
-It's all good.
En suite in here, look, there you go.
-Oh, yes. This is nice.
-I mean, anywhere else that would be quite a handy, you know, family bathroom.
-It's perfect for us, yes.
You couldn't have designed it better yourself!
But, Marion, come and have a look at this, because
-what we've got for you here is loads of built-in storage.
I don't have to scrabble around to find my clothes any more.
-I might have room for some of mine as well!
-And you've got a little airing cupboard in there too.
The other bedroom up here is also a comfortable double room,
again featuring generous built-in wardrobes with two skylight windows.
This property appears to be giving them the element we've been struggling to find on their budget,
a character home with spacious proportions,
but as this is the mystery house, there's another twist.
-OK, Marion, come on out.
-This is the compromise, isn't it?
-This is the end bit you've got to think about.
The rest of it, as you have seen, is absolutely lovely.
-Given that you are retiring, you're wanting to take life a little easier.
I can certainly see some lovely raised beds here,
-alongside the fence there.
OK. Well, let's get down to the kind of hard bit of it, our final discussion of money over the week.
Go on, David. You go first this time.
I'm fearing it could be about...400.
-I'm hoping it's 370.
-You're hoping it's 370?
Well, it is the mystery house.
We do like to sort of push you in all sorts of ways.
I think we've pushed you in terms of the design and style of this building.
-What we haven't done is push you on the price.
-Cos this could be yours for £340,000.
-That's good news.
I think that buys you a courtyard garden.
-That is fantastic.
Yes, cos that's the difference, isn't it?
-You're not paying for that extra bit of land.
-It's a wonderful building.
Go and have a good old look around, and I'll catch you later.
-Go on. Enjoy.
Ah, the mystery house, you've got to love it.
Surprisingly under budget at £340,000, this beautiful period barn conversion is awash with character,
without compromising on space inside.
It has four double bedrooms with a master en suite, a separate dining room and living area, and
to top it off, we've even found
the perfect kitchen/breakfast room for Marion, and it's huge.
But there is a trade-off with the bijou garden.
So, will they be willing to downsize on their preferred plot of land?
-On Escape To The Country, every time we see a nice kitchen like this I'm all excited.
-Your very words.
-"That's the kitchen I want."
Those are the words that you said, isn't it, and now you're standing in it.
Yes. I'm very excited.
-I love it.
I love it. It's beautiful.
It's everything I want.
The garden is the only thing that's slightly disappointing, but
you can't have everything in this life, can you?
Well, the mystery house is just amazing.
It's satisfied so many of the criteria that we had, especially the
kitchen, which I knew Marion would absolutely love and I love as well.
Out you go, Marion. After you, David.
Brilliant. I've had to drag you kicking and screaming out of the mystery house.
Didn't think we'd get them out of there!
Norfolk's level terrain and coastal location have ensured that it's had
a long and distinguished role in Britain's aviation history.
And by World War II, there were over 30 air bases
built here for use by the American Air Force and the RAF.
One aviation legend who's experience these times first hand
is Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who took his first flight in 1936.
I've come to meet him to find out more about his extraordinary life.
Well, Ken, East Anglia is famous for its flying pedigree, not least for its wartime...
-..story, which you played a full part in.
But am I right in saying that you flew 28 combat missions over Germany?
28 missions over Germany, a particularly bad time, actually.
The loss rate very high at the time.
And I flew in 103 Squadron which had the highest loss rate
of Bomber Command for some reason, I don't know quite why.
-But you fortunately survived.
-I survived but only just.
Only just? I mean, I dare say one or two hairy moments in between?
-But you obviously had a passion for flying.
-Tell me where that came from.
-Well, it started with my father and my uncle, who made an aeroplane in 1910.
Flying and indeed, inventing, runs in the family.
In 1964, Ken retired from the RAF to concentrate on developing his very
own aircraft, of which he has now amassed a private collection of over 30 models.
By improving the design of a gyroglider to his own specifications, and including an
engine, the revolutionary autogyro was to steer his career in a whole new direction.
Ken, I'm amazed, I had no idea there were so many of them.
Are they arranged in any kind of order?
They're more or less in order.
-Is this the first one?
-This is the first of my design.
But we talk about autogyro as if we all know exactly how it works.
What's the principle behind it?
Well, it's just the same as the sycamore seed.
Now, when a sycamore seed falls from the tree, you know it whirls
-around and takes a lot longer to come down than it otherwise would?
The autogyro is exactly the same principle as the sycamore seed.
It's rather like when two seeds join together, they're circling
around each other but by setting them at an angle and pushing them along,
-as with a propeller and an engine, they can actually stay up.
-So you're pushing yourself into the wind,
-all the way?
-That's right. Yeah.
Ken designs and develops the autogyros for surveillance
and for the military, but one of his models was to take him to Hollywood.
It was featured in the film You Only Live Twice.
And it was Ken himself who doubled as James Bond for all the aerial stunts.
-So this is the one in which Sean Connery sat?
-It was hung up and there was something
strobing across the light source to give the impression of a rotor blade.
And a fan ruffling his shirt. And the background scenery being moved.
A century after their first flight, the Wallis family are still fascinated with flying.
And even in his 90s, Ken can't resist taking to the skies.
In fact, he's in training to break his own autogyro world speed record,
which currently stands at 129 mph.
Well, they do say you can't keep a good man down,
particularly not a magnificent man in his flying machines.
Well, it's now decision time for Marion and for David.
I have to say, when we started this house search, it all seemed pretty straightforward but my sense is that
they've learnt a lot more about themselves and property in general than they ever thought they would.
So let's go and see what they think now.
-How we doing?
-Let's think about the first property that we showed you.
That lovely little cottage with the holiday lets. What did you make of that one?
When I first saw the outside, the front especially, I thought, "Great, looks really, really nice."
Went inside and was quite surprised by the exposed beams
because I hadn't thought about anything like that.
The rooms, some of them were a little bit smaller than I'd imagined they might be.
My worry was the stairs.
I've already got arthritis.
I'm a bit sort of unsure on my feet at times and that was really worrying me.
As you get older, that's going to get worse.
Well, they're all good practical considerations,
-but not to be daunted, we took you to our second property.
-Lovely Victorian-build surrounded by a very generous garden.
Double garage on the edge of the village, a village complete with...
-A dancing class.
-A dancing class. I mean, come on!
Yes. That was a real bonus if you'd like to have that sort
of community village there, which was something we'd very much wanted.
And the garden was also beautifully set out.
Yes. I liked the garden and I liked the house in many ways, but
again, there were aspects of it that we would have liked to have changed.
-I would have liked to have added on another bathroom and perhaps a utility room.
-And that would have cost extra and it was at the top of our budget.
-But again, the location there was so good.
-Yes, it was. Yes.
That was a big consideration, and that was where I had great difficulty where I
was sort of, at one point, sitting in the garden, contemplating whether
I could work the location against the other things.
And I found it very difficult, to be honest, because I could actually imagine living there.
Let me take you to our final property, the mystery house, which I was very excited about.
It offered almost everything that you wanted, with the exception of a big garden.
But the finish, I think, really went to the heart of what you'd imagined.
-Tell me what happened when you walked into that kitchen, Marion.
Well, yes, blown away because I loved the kitchen.
-It was the only "wow" of the week.
-Yes, it was the only "wow", yes!
The kitchen was definitely a "wow", and so was the whole thing really.
-It was very well done.
It was well thought out.
-And I really liked everything.
And every single room, there was no complaint, I don't think, about any room.
-No. I didn't hear any.
There weren't at all, even silly things like, we won't have to
carpet the stairs, we were able to say, and things like that.
We could virtually move in.
-You could absolutely just move in there.
-There is nothing you would have to do.
-The only thing you would need to consider
-is the garden.
So are we going to furnish you with our mystery house, I wonder? Cos that's the only contender.
Well, yes, indeed. Yes. Yes. Well, it's
obviously, as I think you know, there's the problem with our own house.
-If that was sold.
-If that went through
in the near future, I think we'd be driving up there and probably making an offer.
-Knocking on the door.
-I think we would be.
Good. Well, best of luck, and let us know how you get on.
-We'll certainly do that.
Well, there's no doubt that this has been an enjoyable and eye-opening journey for David and Marion.
And the good news is that the Norfolk property market
seems to have delivered the perfect home for them in the form of our mystery house.
I'm absolutely delighted.
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