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Today I'm in a part of England that was once described
by one of the country's best-loved authors, James Alfred Wight,
as somewhere where he could find peace and tranquillity.
Of this county he wrote, "It is a land of pure air,
"rocky streams and hidden waterfalls."
More famously known by another name, who was this Alf Wight?
And where is he writing so passionately about?
I'll reveal all in just a few moments.
Today I'm helping a couple who are ready to give up their careers
and start a new life in the country.
And at the start of our house hunt
they make all the right noises about the properties we show them.
Yeah, oh, yeah.
Yeah? A lot of yeahs going on.
Then our mystery house almost leaves them speechless.
Look at those views, first of all.
I'm in the Yorkshire Dales, and Alf Wight is better known
as the region's most famous vet, James Herriot.
As one of the most successful writers of his generation,
his stories of life as a rural vet, which were later adapted
for the TV series All Creatures Great And Small,
have been sold worldwide - in fact, 10 million copies,
and it's been translated into 40 different languages.
So far-reaching was this man's work that the whole region
is now universally known as Herriot country.
And I must say, personally,
when you look around this place it's quite easy to see why
millions and millions of tourists come to this place year after year.
Spanning the central Pennines, nearly all of the Yorkshire Dales
National Park falls within the North Yorkshire county boundary.
However, a small part does flow into neighbouring Cumbria.
Created in 1954,
this was one of the first designated National Parks in the country.
Much of the landscape is formed from 300-million-year-old
Great Scar Limestone, which has led to the creation
of spectacular cliffs, like Malham Cove,
and giant outcrops, like Kilnsey Crag.
Strict building restrictions in the National Park
have led to limited redevelopment,
with villages such as Buckden retaining a charming old world feel.
It's no wonder that the area
continues to attract house buyers and tourists to the region.
Time to meet today's buyers
and find out why they're ready to escape to the country.
Financial consultant Michael and teaching assistant Alison
want to leave their jobs
and start up their own business in the countryside.
They currently live in this three-bedroom house in a cul-de-sac
in Bishop's Stortford, but they're dreaming of a more rural life.
When we move, we want to buy a bed and breakfast
so that we can live in the country,
we can enjoy where we're living, we won't be living somewhere
but spending so much time out at work,
and hopefully you'll be able to have some land.
Yeah, I'd like to have a bit of land.
So, our buyers have plans for a business when they move.
The county they've chosen is a perfect choice,
offering a whole range of options.
We'd really like to go to the Yorkshire Dales.
It's an area that we've spent quite a lot of time in.
We know it quite well, we like the hills...
We also both like rambling and hiking.
But Michael and Alison have thought long and hard
about what type of property would be right for their new venture.
It must have the letting rooms, minimum of three,
a substantial kitchen, with the range cooker.
Yes, yes, a range cooker is someone's necessity.
And also a view.
Possibly on the edge of a hamlet or a village
for sort of shops and pubs.
Yeah, need a pub.
Well, it's not quite last orders,
as there's the all-important question of their finances.
We've got a maximum of £550,000 budget.
Any renovation costs would need to be included within that budget.
Today we'll be looking around Sedbergh,
in the Cumbrian side of the National Park,
and Grassington in the south
to give our buyers a great taste of properties across the region.
We've lined up three fantastic properties
to whet our buyers' appetites and, as usual,
I'll be asking them to guess the price before I reveal it to them.
Our last property is, of course, the mystery house,
and I've got a proposition that really raises the bar.
So, Michael, Alison, lovely to meet you.
Welcome to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
-Stunning here, isn't it?
-You've got an idea of running your own business.
-That's right, yeah.
-We want to buy a bed and breakfast and work from home.
So, let's talk about this property.
What accommodation do you want?
-OK, so size of property?
What are we looking at?
Bit of land, I'm not talking masses of acres,
but a reasonable-sized garden.
OK, how old does this property need to be?
Is it a period building?
Yeah, your stone-built building,
something along those lines would be great.
What sort of budget are we looking at?
-We've got up to 550,000.
Now, is that to buy an existing B&B?
-It would be better.
OK, so would you be prepared to look at large houses
with a view to converting to B&B?
It's certainly something that's...got a consideration, yeah.
Well, look, I think what's best to do is get to the first house,
see what your reactions are, not only to the house but to the area,
then we'll talk about how we can make that work for you.
-Sure, sounds good.
-Just this way.
So, Michael and Alison have a top budget of £550,000
to buy an existing bed and breakfast business.
If the property needs converting,
they'd only be prepared to spend £500,000.
They want a building with character that has four bedrooms
and they'd like a large garden, so Michael can keep some animals.
For our first property, I'm taking them to Gawthrop,
which is to the south of Sedbergh.
The nearest village for amenities is just down the road in Dent,
which is one of the most sought-after villages in the National Park.
There's a 12th century Norman church, a cafe,
a local shop, and a post office.
The house I'm showing our buyers is a pretty four-bedroomed cottage
which has spectacular views over the Fells.
So then, for the first property
I've brought us to this wonderful hillside location.
There you go, what about this?
-Yeah, it's big!
Don't be daunted.
I mean, you know, it's not particularly deep.
A lot of these cottages are long and thin - this is such a cottage.
What about the location?
-OK. Let's go inside.
'This property isn't an existing bed and breakfast,
'but the main Dales walking path is right on their doorstep.
'I hope they can see the conversion potential of the interior.'
Right then. In you come...
-to the engine room of your business, really.
A lot of yeahs going on.
-Modern and sort of look with a country feel.
Now, this room, this is big enough for a catering kitchen
-for the amount of guests you're going to have here.
Have a look at this.
I thought this was a lovely place for you guys to take breakfast
yourselves in the morning and your evening meal,
or maybe have a sitting area for you.
-It's a nice room, actually.
-This is a nice room. Yeah.
Beyond that door, we start to enjoy it ourselves
but also start thinking about your guests, OK?
'It's crucial that our buyers think about how
'they will balance living in and running their home as a business,
'so let's see what they make of the next room.'
Now then, I was quite surprised when I saw this fairly large room.
-This is nice.
-Yeah, I'd agree with that.
-It's fairly large, yeah.
-A good size.
The view is stunning from that window.
Now, you're going to be cooking for your guests,
breakfast at the minimum, hopefully some evening meals.
So when I first saw this, I thought, it's a shame
to have to put tables in here,
but you've another room, smaller than this, at the far end.
That room is plenty big enough to have it as a dedicated
-dining room or a breakfast room at the far end.
Which means you can keep this wonderful room as it is.
Yeah, so you'd have your lounge area, a relaxed area,
and then dining in the other. Yeah, that would be good.
Now, we need somewhere for you guys to sleep, and maybe your guests.
-Let's go and take a look at the accommodation upstairs.
'Pretty good responses so far.
'I'm hoping the bedrooms yield the same result.'
Take a look at this as a master suite.
Now, look, you have an amazing bathroom there,
but look at this bedroom here, it's quite something.
It's a great size.
-Look at that.
-Wow, that is stunning.
-This would be ours!
-Forget the guests!
-And you've got views both sides.
-Lovely, isn't it?
Next door there's a double bedroom with room to put an en suite in,
-and as the bathroom is next door that's very doable.
And at the far round of this property there's another
double bedroom with a bathroom next door, which could be made
a suite, a little bit like this, not quite as big.
That could be an owner's suite, or it could be an en suite for a guest.
But, in order to get a third bedroom, we need to look elsewhere,
and there is a fantastic option the other side of that wall.
'Michael and Alison need to maximise the earning potential of this house,
'and there's a room above the garage
'that I think could really help them do just that.'
Now, we've got an en suite just through there, and look at this.
That's a bit of treasure.
It's a hidden surprise, isn't it? In the garage.
Now, this is where you have the options.
Below, you've obviously got the double garage.
You've also got beyond that an out-building
that's at the moment partitioned into two.
This could be a complete, self-contained annexe.
You could even let it out to someone.
-Options are there.
-There you go.
Let's go back outside, we'll have a chat about price, OK?
'So, although this house only has three bedrooms,
'there is the scope to add more,
'or to even create a self-contained accommodation unit.'
-Now, Michael, you did say you wanted a bit of land.
All in all, the agent reckons there's a good quarter of an acre.
You've got this garden here.
So, with that in mind, let's have a go at pricing it.
Um, I think about 450.
-I'd say a little bit more, I think about 480-485.
Well, it's more than that, still.
It's on the market for offers around £515,000.
We've spoken to the agent. The agent reckons that
there's a deal to be done maybe around the 490 mark.
It's... It's got potential. It's a consideration.
This characterful cottage is on the market for offers around £515,000.
It's got three double bedrooms in the main house,
and outside there's another double room above the garage,
which could be converted into a self-contained flat.
And, perhaps best of all,
there's a large garden with some stunning views.
-There's a lot to see, isn't there?
-Yes, big property.
-Hopefully give you something to think about...
-..on the way to the next place.
'The Dales are a haven for great traditions,
'so earlier in the week I visited the village of Kettlewell
'to see why over 15,000 people flock here every year in August
'for the annual Scarecrow Festival.
'I've been asked to judge this year's event,
'so the chairman of the festival, Colin Harvey,
'is taking me on a tour of the exhibits.'
It's great, everyone gets involved, even the church.
You've got whole scenes here, haven't you?
It's also a good test of your knowledge of nursery rhymes
and children's stories, what with Rapunzel up there.
That's the children's favourite at the moment.
Certainly the tallest scarecrow, isn't it?
'There are over 150 scarecrows dotted around the village,
'some of which portrayed this year's theme, which is inventions.'
What's going on here then?
-Oh, wait, I've got this - that's Freddie Mercury.
It's one of the inventions, and it's the Hoover Dam.
Ah-ha! Right, OK.
Whoever lives here is ingenious themselves.
'This is a very hard decision to make, but I think we have a winner.'
-Well, it's got to be this, hasn't it?
-Well done, whoever did this. Just deserved.
With such a love of the Dales, I'm sure our buyers would really
enjoy having this quirky festival right on their doorstep.
With that in mind, it's back to the house hunt
to see if I can unearth their perfect property.
For our second property,
I'm taking our buyers to Litton in the middle of the National Park.
It's just down the road from the popular Dales village
of Grassington, which has got all the amenities our buyers could need.
The house I'm showing them is a modern cottage.
Now, for the second property, we thought it would be good idea
for you to have a look around
an up-and-running bed and breakfast business.
Which is this.
You've got a pub just there.
All right, start on the property. It was built around 1978.
-Do you like it?
It's pretty, actually. I do like it, yeah.
Now, what can you see that you weren't expecting to see?
Now, it is a great way of getting to know your neighbours,
but also, it's...
You know, it's a few mornings of your week out.
-Something to think about.
It's very different inside, as much as anything else,
because it's up-and-running, OK? Follow me.
What I really like about this house
is that it's a ready-to-go business in a popular Dales location.
Let's see if they feel the same.
And in you come...
to a rather open-plan kitchen-dining room.
Now, you're going to be cooking
maybe with your diners already in the room,
if you were doing breakfasts and what have you.
-But we are tucked around the corner.
-You are, yes, definitely.
-We could board that off.
-You could do.
-Indeed, you could.
Yeah, it feels...
-It feels nice.
-Yeah, so far, so good.
OK, well, look, let's look at one of the letting bedrooms,
and then we can concentrate on you after that.
-Yeah? Sound good?
There are three letting bedrooms on the ground floor,
but I want to show them the fourth, upstairs.
So, this is the family room.
Because it has three beds. Quirky, isn't it?
Yeah. That's a great summing up - quirky!
I like the skylight, actually.
-That's a nice feature.
Now, it's en suite.
You've got three en suite letting bedrooms
-in the business part of this house.
There's also another bedroom which isn't en suite.
-All right, fair enough.
-So, you've got options here.
The opposite end of the property is your accommodation, OK?
Let's see what you think of that.
So, it's back through the kitchen towards the other end of the house,
where the private living quarters are located.
Also on this floor, there's a study
from where the current owners run the sub-post office.
Upstairs, there's a guest bedroom which has an en suite,
but we're going to take a look at the master,
which could be perfect for them.
Now, in the far end of your house...
..there's two en suite bedrooms just for you.
-Two en suites for us?
-Yeah! Well, you're going to be doing shift work.
You never know, you might not get on!
You're working together for the first time!
-Lovely, isn't it?
-It's a good size.
All right, well, look, below this room is their very own,
-or potentially, YOUR very own living room.
-And it's a really good size. Let me show you.
'These reactions are really positive.
'I'm hoping I can keep up the momentum.'
This is a good-sized room.
This is a big-sized room!
And it goes right round here for a room
and half the size again, if you like.
Yeah? Nice fire.
That'll heat the house, let alone the room!
What do you think of the layout?
I would potentially look at us being up in the upstairs bedroom,
-the quirky room, as ours.
And then have the other end let out to guests.
OK, well, that's the whistle stop tour
of the interior of this property.
Let's go and have a look at the garden,
and again, start to think about price.
-OK, thank you.
So we haven't quite nailed it, although the good thing
is that they're actually thinking about
which parts of the property might be best for them.
So, here we are.
This is the extent of your garden. It goes to that middle wall there.
-OK, it's not bad.
-I like it.
So, after what you've seen, let's have a go at pricing it.
How much, Michael, do you think this place is on the market for?
I'd go in the region of 525.
I think a bit more.
-I think I'll go 530.
you'll be surprised to hear, then, that this place
is on the market for offers in the region of £500,000.
I think, at that price,
-there potentially is a deal to be considered here.
This modern house is on the market
for offers in the region of £500,000.
It's got a kitchen-breakfast room and a separate dining room,
which is ideal for guests.
There are seven bedrooms and a lawned garden to the south
and west of the property, all with spectacular views of the Dales.
Hopefully, something to have a think about.
-Something to sleep on, now.
-Very much so.
-I agree, yes.
You look it! And determined.
As evening falls, it's the end of our first day
searching for our buyers'
perfect bed and breakfast property in the Dales.
Well, we covered quite a bit of ground here in the Dales yesterday,
for the main reason that there aren't that many
properties for sale here in Michael and Alison's budget,
and even less so that are suitable for conversion to a B&B.
Today, when they woke up, well,
they were greeted by a beautiful morning here in the Dales,
and I'm sure they're rather excited to see the mystery property.
Let's find out.
For our mystery house, we've hopped out of the Dales National Park
and travelled north to Hilton in Cumbria.
It's just down the road from the town of Appleby,
which is an ideal spot for tourists, offering easy access
to the Pennines, the Lake District, and the Yorkshire Dales.
Appleby is well serviced by an array of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
The property I'm showing them in Hilton is a four-bedroom farmhouse
which has been renovated to an extremely high standard.
Before the mystery property...
well, we're actually looking at mystery PROPERTIES,
because we've got a barn, and we've got a farmhouse.
The Yorkshire border is about 20 minutes that way,
but, on the flip side, 20 minutes that way is Ullswater,
-the Lake District.
So we've got two national parks within striking distance.
And the Pennines right on the doorstep.
You can walk to the Pennine Way, which means tourist and customers.
So, what do we think overall?
It's not quite what I was expecting, actually, but it's got the character.
That means the mystery property is doing its job.
Let's look inside.
When Michael and Alison see the high-spec interior,
I think they'll understand why I've brought them here.
In we come.
Nice! Very nice!
-It's got your cooker!
-Well, what can I say?
It's the first thing I saw!
It's a fantastic room, isn't it, really?
-It IS huge.
-It is a big kitchen.
-It's an amazing room.
There's all sorts of options that you have here.
The owners told me that when they redeveloped this house,
they left enough room to put a stud partition across there,
so that would be a dining-kitchen for yourselves,
and then the dining area for your guests could be here.
-There is plenty of room to do that.
-Goodness me, is there!
I mean, the kitchen, I think, is absolutely fantastic.
Everything you see, every bit of woodwork in this house
has been made bespoke.
It's the best kitchen we've seen so far.
Isn't it, just?
You can see it is a quality finish.
You'll see that in every room that we go into.
-Let's look elsewhere.
This property has so much to offer,
and there's a whole range of possibilities.
-Now then, what do you think of this room?
-It's very light.
-It is, isn't it? And again, it's sizeable.
-Massive, isn't it?
-Here's the question.
Is it for you or is it for the guests?
If we kept that for us, this could be the dining room.
Could be. There's lots of options here.
Or I can show you an option where
this could still maybe be your lounge. OK?
Because next up, well, we're going to spice things up again.
Right, then. As it stands, clearly this is a living room.
And I think it's really sweet.
Look at those views first of all.
They're stunning, straight into the Lakes.
Imagine waking up to those views
-because I'm suggesting this is your bedroom.
You've got a downstairs loo just there,
which could easily be converted to a downstairs loo and shower room.
-So the entire end of this house on the ground floor is
-the owner's suite.
-Yes, it certainly could work.
OK, but these are just one of many options here.
Upstairs, at the moment, I think that's where your guests will stay.
Let's take a look at one of the rooms.
The attention to detail continues on the first floor,
where there are four bedrooms
which have all been beautifully finished.
There's a small single room and two good-sized doubles,
one of which has an en suite.
There is also a family bathroom.
But I'm going to show them what could be the biggest letting room.
-Isn't it just?
Again, as with the whole house, it's just such a standard, and the size.
-But look at it, look at those views.
-Exactly. You've got the view again.
That's the Lake District over there.
-That is amazing.
-Let's go outside.
There are more surprises in store with this spectacular property,
as there is a barn that's ripe for development
and a quarter of an acre of garden.
Well, what else might make your life interesting is this building
here, which is included in the sale.
I'm suggesting you speak to the local planners
and try to get planning consent for conversion to accommodation.
That would certainly be a future project.
Yes, let's consider all that we've got.
How much do you think it's on the market for?
I think 540.
I think a little bit less because it's not in the Dales National Park.
-I think 525.
Well, you are out, both of you.
It's on the market for 475.
Well, that's a different ball game altogether. That's...
That's a bit of a shock, actually.
-Yeah, good shock, by the sounds of it.
It's a lot of property for that amount.
With a price tag of £475,000,
this detached house is finished to an exceptionally high standard.
It has a large, bespoke farmhouse kitchen and four bedrooms.
And there is a barn with development potential as holiday lets.
A lot to take in now. A lot to consider.
Let's find you somewhere to have a bit of a think and a natter.
-Is a move up here to the rural north the right thing for you guys?
-So, let's talk about property number one.
How do you feel about it now?
Perfect location, the property itself was good.
-Yes, that was the best location.
And that certainly had the most potential
to convert into a B&B business.
Because the second property, we showed you an up-and-running B&B.
We're still not entirely convinced on the location.
The plus side being, it was up and running, we could move in.
Finally we got to the mystery house.
It's wonderful, you cannot fault it as a house.
I think to turn it into the B&B aspect, I think, would take a lot.
So, does one property have enough to be a favourite for you guys?
-Property number one.
Well, it sounds like we could potentially have found you
a property that could be your dream business up here.
So, best of luck with that. But please, whichever way you go,
-let us know what you finally decide, won't you?
-We will do.
Well, what a great couple of days.
It sounds like we had genuinely three properties
that were in contention this time.
But I must say, after catching up with Michael and Alison,
I'm quite surprised at their choice.
I thought the mystery property would be the one for them.
They reacted fantastically to the potential and to the finish there.
It sat nicely between the first house that needs work done to it
and the second property that was an up-and-running B&B.
But I suppose, on reflection, it is outside that target area
of the beautiful Dales.
And at the end of the day, location so often wins through.
So, for a couple from Bishops Stortford,
if they do go ahead and buy this first property,
this will truly be an escape to the country for them.
See you next time.
After discussing the properties further,
Michael and Alison decided none of them were quite right,
but are still keen to make the Dales their new home.
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