Property series. Nicki Chapman and Jules Hudson look back on the property searches of two couples looking for rural retreats in North Yorkshire.
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Today's programme is a special episode where we will be
showcasing one region, revisiting the house searches of two families
looking for their rural dream homes.
As well as reminiscing, we will also be offering our own advice
and thoughts about moving to the area.
The region we are featuring today is England's largest county.
Find out where in just a moment.
Today, we're looking back on two previous house-hunts.
Mine involved a mother and daughter duo who are looking for a property to entertain in.
And one of our offerings seemed to hit the mark.
-I think you've hit the nail on the head!
-I'm feeling a bit tearful!
While today, my buyers were a father and daughter team searching for a
shared home for their two families, and I certainly had my work cut out!
No, sorry. That's not me!
Well, today, we are in North Yorkshire,
which represents a staggering 10% of England's landmass.
And we were lucky enough to be able to explore
both the county's dramatic National Parks.
I was up in the North West, in and around the Dales.
I was also north, but a little bit further east than Jules,
near the North York Moors.
But it's not just the scenic dales and moors, but the whole county
that seems to attract those seeking a rural escape.
North Yorkshire is located in the North of England.
It is bordered by six other counties, including
West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The North Sea runs along its eastern edge.
This region is home to two National Parks - the Yorkshire Dales to
the west and the rugged
and windswept North York Moors to the east.
But it's not all about the striking scenery.
North Yorkshire also boasts exquisite architecture,
such as York Minster, the medieval cathedral with its spectacular,
Gothic style exterior and vibrant stained-glass windows.
Geographically, the county has much to offer.
So it's perhaps not surprising that the region has become
a popular option for those seeking a slower, more rural existence.
What I love about North Yorkshire, Jules, is its character.
-It has to be the proudest county ever, doesn't it?
-Without a doubt.
I mean, I'm slightly biased because I've got family there,
but two places I always recommend people see.
One is Malham Cove, that incredible limestone formation, and
if you want a Northern seaside town, you can't go wrong with Whitby.
-Ah, a taste of Dracula!
But for all that beauty, I think
house prices up there are surprisingly attractive.
When you consider that the average cost of a detached home
is about £274,000,
it is slightly under the national figure of £279,000,
so it's well worth a look.
But such a huge county, prices can vary, can't they?
I always suggest people should look further away, perhaps forget
the parks, move further south, it can be sort of £90,000 difference.
But it was the parks that our buyers wanted,
and frankly, who can blame them?
I was helping a mother and daughter combo
swap suburban Surrey for the delights of the Dales.
Today's house hunters are mother and daughter Mel and Holly,
who live in Worcester Park, Surrey.
Mel, originally from North Yorkshire, is recently divorced
and works as a speech therapy assistant.
She has two daughters -
Lily, who is about to go off to university,
and Holly, who has just finished at sixth form college.
They've decided that now is the time to make their move to the country.
I've lived here nearly eight years,
and the area is quite busy and congested
and we'd like to escape that.
Mel's been itching to get back to her roots in North Yorkshire.
I've been thinking about moving to the countryside
and especially to move back to the North East for about 13 years,
but it's been put on the back burner.
So, now I've got an opportunity, through getting divorced
and selling this house, and now I can fulfil my dream.
I love everything about North Yorkshire.
-I love the dales, I love the moors, the villages...
-Quaint houses and things. Chocolate box.
Yeah, chocolate box.
And mainly because of the people.
Mel and Holly have had their fill of suburban life.
We'd like to be in a village.
And maybe on the outskirts rather than being right in the centre.
-Yeah. Somewhere where there's quite a community.
And they do seem to be clear about what they want in their new house.
We are looking for something with character.
-Three bedrooms would be great.
We would quite like to have something like holiday lets to have
something where there's potential of some business and income.
Life in North Yorkshire will be very different
to living in the South East.
A bit nervous. Obviously it's a big change and I'll be moving away
from half my family, some friends and things, but it'll be...
-But I'm very excited about it.
-Yes. No, I'm very excited.
-Because I'll be with my family...
..for the first time in 26 years.
Yeah, and there'll be a lot of opportunities
-and things for us up there.
Mel and Holly are keen to move to a village property
within easy reach of family in Darlington.
But before our search begins, I'm meeting them to learn more
about their proposed rural move.
Well, Holly, Mel, welcome to Yorkshire.
-Welcome back to Yorkshire for you, Mel.
-This is home, isn't it?
-Yes, it is. Yeah.
-Now, it's obviously your idea to come back up here.
Did you take much persuading?
Erm, no, not really.
I'm in-between jobs at the minute, so I'm easy, I'm happy to move.
Be a new chapter for me and open some new opportunities for me, so...
So, give us an idea of the sort of property that you've pictured,
Mel, for your return to this part of the world.
It's got to have character, definitely,
-cos we live in quite a new house, don't we?
So, it's got to have character.
And are there any real no-nos in your wish list?
-No new builds.
-I'm too young.
So, something nice and pretty - that, I think, is a given.
But what does it need to have?
How many bedrooms do you need, for example?
Well, it needs to have three, three bedrooms and possibly four.
-But we're quite relaxed on that, so...
And what about outside space, Holly?
We'd possibly like a potential to maybe have holiday lets or
extra space maybe to put up yurts or something in a garden
-if we've got a big bit of land.
-Ooh, a bit of glamping maybe!
-A bit of glamping.
-Yeah! Let's talk about the budget then.
How much do you want to spend on this whole move?
If you take £375,000 all the way up from Surrey,
-the horizon does get much broader.
-Yeah, it does.
-And much prettier.
And that's the really exciting thing.
Right then, let's go. Come on.
Mel and Holly have £375,000 to spend on their new home.
They'd like to be in a village setting within easy reach
of family in Darlington.
They're after a three-bedroomed house,
with a large kitchen/diner and a garden.
Although the house is their main consideration, if it did offer
a business opportunity in the form of land or outbuildings, that would
be a plus, although that might be tricky to achieve within the budget.
We've lined up three varied properties to show them over
the next couple of days, but I won't be revealing the price tags
until the end of each house tour.
Finally, our Mystery House will challenge what they think
they want and test how much vision they have.
Our first property is in the village of Melsonby, six miles from
Darlington, so, convenient for visiting Mel's family.
It's an attractive village with a green at its centre and a brook.
There's a selection of old cottages and the property we're showing them
is right in the heart of things.
OK, ladies, come on in to property number one! What do you reckon?
-Lovely. Absolutely lovely.
-Yeah, it's really nice actually.
I suppose the obvious thing to say is that it is, technically...
If you think of it in terms of being a single-storey barn conversion
-it takes on a completely different meaning.
Let's have a look inside.
'Sadly, it doesn't offer business potential either.'
Come in, Holly. There we are!
What do you reckon then?
-Yeah, really nice.
-Quite modern, isn't it?
It's very modern, but it does have this nice country feel,
the way the units are finished, this nice duck egg blue.
Through there is a utility room, boiler and so on,
and access to the courtyard, so all the white goods are tucked away.
-Yes, very nice.
Now, how's the bungalow thing going with you?
Erm... Yeah, it's all right.
It's not bothering me too much at the minute.
Yeah, I think we need to see the rest of it
-and see what we think.
-Yeah, and make a decision.
Yeah. Come and have a look at this.
Now, I can quite see you two...
cosied up in here.
-Yeah. I love the ceiling, love the beams.
It's not huge but it feels spacious.
And for family gatherings, just imagine Christmas!
Yeah, you can actually.
Back through the kitchen to the other end of the house,
there are three bedrooms -
a cosy double,
another double currently being used as a child's room,
and also a neutrally decorated bathroom.
But I'm taking them to the master bedroom.
Now, I'm wondering if this is your room, Holly.
-What, the master bedroom?
-Cos it's got the en suite, yeah.
No, I think I'll have to give that to Mum, yeah.
I could see that coming, yeah.
-It's not a bad size.
-It's the biggest of the three.
The others are all doubles, so I guess you'd get first pick.
-Yeah, and then Lily can have..
-Lily'll get what's left.
Well, let's go outside and think about the price
-and show you that courtyard.
Maybe that will be the icing on the cake. Go on, after you.
Outside, there's double-gated access to the walled front garden
which is grassed with a raised patio area.
At the back is a long, narrow paved garden with a well-planted border,
and it's all pretty low-maintenance.
-This is a perfect size...
OK, so, how much is property number one on the market for?
I think it's on for 345.
345? Yeah. Holly?
I was going to actually go a bit lower, say about 330.
You have clearly done it before, cos it is on the market...
-..for £345,000, yeah!
For £30,000 under their maximum budget,
this single storey stone barn conversion
provides an enormous open-plan kitchen-dining room,
an impressive sitting room with vaulted ceiling,
and three bedrooms, with the master being en suite,
and outside there are low-maintenance gardens.
I think the problem with house number one is that it's one storey.
Obviously at home I'm used to having two storeys
so it's something that I'd have to get used to if we were to move here.
My overall thought on property one is it's a beautiful house,
it's in a beautiful location,
I think I just would struggle with the one level.
Well, that's it. One down, two to go.
Is it a contender?
-We need to see the others, don't we, first?
That's what everybody says. Come on.
Richmond Castle is one of the finest and best-preserved
Norman castles in Britain.
After the Norman Conquest in 1066,
William The Conqueror built castles across the North of England
in an effort to control what he considered
the unruly population of the North.
I've come to meet curator Kevin Booth from English Heritage
for a history lesson.
-Jules, nice to meet you.
Very nice to see you, sir! This is gorgeous, isn't it?
Why was the castle sited here in Richmond?
Richmond Castle is a point of force
and it's sitting on a promontory on the River Swale.
It's got views both ways down the river
and this is a point of control over the North of England.
But it's one of the very first fortresses like this that's
built up here after William wins the Battle of Hastings.
Yeah, I mean, it's only four, five years
after William comes through the South of England.
So, what was the idea?
It's a Northern population that haven't yet bowed
to the rule of the Normans.
Now, Kevin, I am assured that the view from the top of the keep
-is absolutely fantastic.
-139 steps to the top.
Yeah, we'll start counting, shall we?
The keep is 100 foot high
and was built from sandstone in the 12th century.
From the top on a clear day you can see for over 40 miles,
so advancing opponents could easily be spotted.
There's your view, Jules.
Wow, look at that! Fabulous!
You can absolutely see how the town has grown up around this place.
The castle is pulling in people, it's pulling in skills,
it's a centre for money, for law and order, for justice,
and it needs that town to support it and the town requires the castle.
The military importance of the castle in this area
lasted around 300 years.
But by the 15th century, there was a lack of investment
and it started to fall into decline.
But the castle's history doesn't end just because it becomes a ruin.
No, and certainly in the 19th century there was a great
resurgence of its fortunes with the military adopting it -
the local regiment's based here.
But, as you get to the 20th century, there's a story with a very
different slant, which perhaps we can go and see now.
Absolutely. Yeah, I'm going to follow you.
'During the First World War, although millions of men went
'to the front line, there were those who refused to fight
'on moral grounds and they were called conscientious objectors.
'These men were given non-combative duties, but some had even
'stronger objections and ended up incarcerated here.'
Now, this is an atmospheric place.
The centre of every castle should have its dungeon.
Well, this one has a range of eight prison cells.
But absolutely covered in graffiti!
Pre-First World War up to the 1950s, but focusing,
especially for my interest,
on the work of these 16 absolutist conscientious objectors.
These men were known as absolutists because,
unlike conscientious objectors,
they refused any duties connected to the war effort.
In 1916, they were held here and became known as the Richmond 16.
So, here we are, Jules, in one of these tiny little cells
and this one probably has some
of the most poignant material inscribed.
They're so austere.
So it's just lime wash and pencil annotation over the top
and a whole series of messages from the religious, the personal,
to quite bold and blatant political statements as well.
Clearly, conserving these buildings is a challenge.
We don't open it to the public but we are doing all we can to monitor,
to understand the conditions that affect it and then to rectify it.
Well, Kevin, thank you very much for this rather privileged
and brief look into this story.
It is a fascinating footnote to the story of the First World War.
You're very welcome, Jules.
Let's leave it to its damp past.
Our second property is in the village of Scruton,
half an hour's drive from Darlington.
Scruton is a lively, social village with a church,
a pub, and a village hall.
The property we're showing Mel and Holly is an impressive stone
cottage in the heart of the village.
Well, here we are then.
What do you reckon to this little gem?
-It's gorgeous! It's really quaint.
And it's all just been done and renovated to a really,
-really high standard. It's Grade II listed...
..but that doesn't need to worry you because it's all
been sorted out. There's nothing you'd need to do here.
I don't even think you need to paint it, to be perfectly frank.
I mean, the finish is lovely.
-Right then, let's have a look!
'While there's no obvious business opportunity here,
'I think this house will really wow them.'
Right, look at this.
Ah-ha! Lots to tempt you with.
Let's start in here.
Oh, wow. I love this.
-Yeah. Love it.
This is the living room.
It's not the only reception space you've got,
it's mirrored by the dining room, which is across the hallway.
Similar sort of size, similar spec, they've both got fireplaces.
And I think this is a great indication of the sort of finish
we can expect around the rest of the property.
Yeah. It is lovely.
Yeah, I love the beam.
Yeah, I'm a bit speechless. I love the beam, yeah.
It feels nice. It feels...
Yeah, it's got a lovely feeling to it. It's very homely.
-Now, the kitchen is through here.
It has something in you are going to really love.
Come and have a look at this.
There you go, Mel. Didn't you want one of those?
Oh, my goodness. Yes, I wanted a range.
A gorgeous fitted kitchen. And this is lovely -
how about that for a larder?
Oh, very nice. That is very nice.
That's nice and big.
-It's gorgeous, isn't it?
It's not the huge kitchen-diner, but I don't think it matters.
No. I don't think it would do the house justice
if it was a big kitchen-diner.
No. Yeah, it's very fitting.
I don't think I would change it actually. No, lovely.
Great. Come through here. Have a look at this.
Now this, to me,
is one of the really clever bits in this renovation.
You've got the old house behind us, you've got the old outhouse
and garage, and they've linked the whole thing with this...
well, amazing garden room.
What a family space.
Oh, it's beautiful.
And then, through there, a really well-equipped utility room.
Fridge-freezer is out there and then a door through to a garage,
so you've also got off-street parking if you need it.
-That's good, isn't it?
-It's beautiful. What a lovely addition. It's a very sociable area, isn't it?
-Yeah. I really like it, yeah.
Through the garden room, there's a study
and next to it, a cloakroom with shower.
The cottage has a steep staircase leading to three bedrooms -
a large double with a hand basin,
a smaller double being used as a dressing room,
and it has a beautifully fitted bathroom with another shower.
And then finally, Mel, this is yours.
-Oh, my gosh!
Oh, this is lovely!
This is beautiful. It's lovely.
I think we've hit the nail on the head!
I'm feeling a bit tearful!
-You can see yourselves in here, then?
I really, really do like this, yeah.
Let's go down to the garden and get some fresh air, talk about the price.
'So, this place has hit the mark, but what will they make
'of the outdoor space?'
The cottage has a formal front garden enclosed by hedging
and at the back is a private garden with patio area.
So, Holly, I'm going to get you to guess the price first.
Where is property two on the scale of things?
I think it's at our top end of our budget. 375.
I think it is...
I hate you. You get it right all the time!
No! Did I?
-You did! You did, yeah.
-I'm too good.
-And it really is 365?
-It really is. It really is.
This Grade II listed stone cottage
is priced £10,000 under their maximum budget
and is in mint condition.
It has a beautiful country kitchen with range,
a bespoke conservatory and three bedrooms.
There are private gardens front and rear, as well as a garage.
They were really quite taken with that second property, weren't they?
It was gorgeous, and I really loved that garden room.
And we are seeing a lot more of them these days.
They are much more useful than a conservatory,
they become an extension to the living space, to the footprint
of a property, and they are so much more versatile.
Yeah, and you can use them all the year round.
They can be integrated with the main house's heating system,
whereas conservatories, legally, have to have independent heating,
which, let's be honest, in the winter months, can be quite a challenge.
-Yeah, and quite expensive to run.
But let's reacquaint ourselves with my buyers now,
a father and daughter who were looking to move
two generations of their family to North Yorkshire.
Secretary Penny and her retired father, Richard,
have lived in Ipswich all their lives.
Together, they've taken on the tall task of finding a shared new
home for themselves, plus Penny's husband, Mark, and her mother, Jenny.
We share the same interests, we really get on together.
We do have a laugh and we enjoy each other's company.
The idea would be to live in separate accommodation,
-because obviously, we all need our own space.
But there for each other if we require it.
-Which is basically what we've got now, isn't it?
Richard and Jenny currently live in a bungalow on the outskirts
of Ipswich and Penny and Mark four miles away in this detached house.
But they've decided that the time has come to follow their country dream.
Well, Ipswich, I was born and bred here,
about five miles from the town centre.
But I remember it as a market town,
but now it's become more urbanised and more congested.
So, it doesn't sort of live for a pleasant life, as I saw it as a boy.
And it's North Yorkshire, somewhere they've enjoyed visiting over
many years, that they have decided they want to call home.
When you go to places like Yorkshire,
you really see that it's not as built up, there's more open space.
And to me, it's wilder.
You meet very, very friendly people, a lovely community spirit,
North Yorkshire is fantastic.
And the scenic North Yorkshire countryside is perfect
for the hobbies the two couples share.
But it's not just going to be about leisure time.
The two families are hoping to start up a new
business from their new home.
Hope the business side of things will either have enough land
to do glamping and if we haven't got the land to do that,
hopefully you might already have cottages that are already there.
And whether it's work or play, both Penny, Richard
and their families are looking forward to a completely new start.
When we move to Yorkshire, I speak on behalf of all of us,
we feel the pace of life will be slower.
It's time to move on, I think. Before it's too old for me, anyway!
Penny and Richard love all that North Yorkshire has to offer
and are hoping to find a new family home close to the magnificent moors.
I'm meeting them in the northerly county to discover exactly
what it is they are looking for.
Well, Richard and Penny, why did you pick this county?
Well, years ago, we used to motorhome, caravanning,
and we settled up here near Whitby and had a fantastic time
and we would do all our walking and we came across the moors,
so we thought, "Oh, nice place to set up a new,
"ambitious dream of either holiday lets or something similar."
-Have you ever done anything like this before?
But then, new challenge, we thought, "Well, why not have a go?"
The dream of the business is cottages, holiday lets, glamping?
If we could, if we got the land.
So, in a way, for you, Penny,
would I be right in thinking the business is the most important?
Yeah, I think so, because we've got to have some income.
-Richard, for you and your wife?
But obviously, we would chip in with the business.
We could be slightly pulling in different directions.
What are you looking for in this new home?
Traditional build would be nice, and a lovely surrounding area.
What about you, Penny? What do you want?
I would really like something that's not particularly modern -
a lot of properties now have a lot of glass in them -
-and in a nice area, a lot of countryside around it.
-How many bedrooms?
-Would be happy with two.
-Don't want particularly loads.
-Huge house for you!
-Remind us again of your budget?
And is there any flexibility on that if it needs doing up?
-Are you happy to take on a project?
-Yeah, that's fine.
How much have we got left to do a little bit of the project?
-I'd say about 50.
-OK. So, ideally, the property is 550,
and if we need to, we can dip in an extra 50.
We are in the most beautiful part of the world, there is so much here
in North Yorkshire to see, so I think we should get started, don't you?
-Come on, then, follow me.
With the proceeds from two house sales,
Penny and Richard will have a pretty generous budget,
with a little extra if needs be to spend on their rural idyll.
They want two separate living quarters
for Penny and her husband, Mark,
and Richard and his wife, Jenny.
And they want somewhere on site that can be utilised as a holiday let,
or enough land to offer upmarket camping.
They are also hoping for somewhere rural, but not too remote.
We're kicking off our property hunt with our first house,
situated on the outskirts of the ancient market town of Pickering.
It's just under 50 minutes north-east of York
and on the border of the North York Moors National Park.
Pickering has the waterway Pickering Beck running through it
and is also home to a splendid 13th century castle.
A one-and-a-quarter mile journey from town
and we've arrived at our first property.
Nice Yorkshire stone for you, traditional!
So, a converted barn. Do you like what you see?
-Yeah, I don't dislike it.
-Don't dislike it.
No-one's jumping up and down, though, are they?
-But, as first impressions go...
-First impressions, good.
-Let's step inside the barn.
-Lovely. Thank you.
This handsome stone barn with its pan tiled roof is around a century old
and was converted almost 20 years ago into a bright, spacious family home.
And I've got a surprise up my sleeve, which is hidden from view,
but I'll let Penny and Richard in on the secret later.
-So, starting off with...
..pretty large dining room, in my book.
-Nice high ceilings. My husband is tall.
-Jenny would love it.
She would, she would love it.
-Got to keep the missus happy, haven't we, Richard?
Better inside than actually out!
Behind us, by the back door, there is a cloakroom and also
on the ground floor is a utility room, a sunroom and a sitting room.
And leading from the dining room is a kitchen-diner,
which opens onto the south-facing garden.
First impression, for me, the kitchen space is not very big.
-The space is big, but the kitchen area...
-More of a diner, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's not...
-But you could do away with
the dining area, because you've got one in there.
-You have to compromise, don't you? Not bad so far.
-Good start, then!
We're doing well on the ground floor,
-let's see how you feel about upstairs.
And we're headed straight for the master bedroom.
That would be ours.
-Well, obviously, obviously!
I was going to say, who is going to have the master?
-But it does have a very nice en suite behind me as well.
-Do you like it?
-Well, I can't comment because it's not my room!
-Well, you've been told, Richard!
-I've been told, so I'll be kept quiet.
Well, the barn has three bedrooms, it has the family bathroom.
I don't know about you, but I think
I'd find it quite difficult to cut it in half.
-Would you want to live in this barn?
But as a family, no!
Only one family can really live in this barn, I think.
I know, so what have you got as an annexe?
Well, that's what Penny and Richard are about to find out.
Outside and opposite the barn is a converted garage block.
What you've got here is two large double garages,
-plus this office area and a mezzanine floor upstairs.
But you've got so much space, if you converted here and next door,
you could easily have a second home, here.
-The potential is there, isn't it?
We've got you thinking, haven't we?
-Didn't expect to think!
This beautiful stone barn, with its additional buildings,
sits in stunning North Yorkshire countryside.
We've seen there's the potential for two dwellings,
but how about space for paying guests?
Now, you wanted quite a bit of land to go with the business, didn't you?
It's about 1.5 acres,
so I'm thinking glamping, yurts.
You do have the space,
but you've also got a private garden, which is enormous!
-Lovely. Not too much looking after.
-Let's see if you can afford it!
I really haven't got any clue, but I would imagine
it most probably is... just under our budget,
maybe at 549,950.
I would say just over budget.
The original asking price - because it has just come down - was 575,000.
-The good news for you two...
This tastefully converted barn
is on the market bang on Penny and Richard's budget,
leaving them no change, but they do have a pot put aside
which they could dip into if needs be.
They love the traditional property
and there's potential to create a separate abode
if the garage and office block were turned into a second home.
And with around two acres of land -
1.5 acres of that are paddock -
their glamping business
would be ready to go.
North Yorkshire is home to beautiful churches and cathedrals
with exquisite stained glass gracing many a window.
St Mary's Church in Ebberston towards the east of the region
has wonderful examples from the 19th century.
It is stained-glass artist Val Green's job
to keep them looking just as they did when they were first put in,
almost 150 years ago.
Now, this is a very unusual skill, isn't it?
Working and replacing stained-glass windows.
Is this something that's been in your family for a long time?
It goes back to my great-grandfather. So, that's 1884.
Which is about the age of some of the windows in the church.
The beautiful windows in this church have stood the test of time,
but not without a little help.
Every maybe 100, 150 years,
the windows have got to be taken out,
stripped down, the glass is cleaned, any broken pieces are replaced,
and then re-leaded, so this is where we come in with our workshop.
Val's workshop is 15 miles away in Cayton,
where she repairs and restores
around 20 churches' stained-glass windows a year.
Val will use a sheet of antique glass to repair the hole in the window.
It's called antique glass
because it's made to the same recipe as glass was made 1,000 years ago.
If we don't do exactly what the original artists did,
we are not going to get a good copy. So, this is our job today.
Once we've got the glass and cut it to shape, then we start painting.
The powdered glass is mixed with gum arabic, a natural glue,
to help it stick, and then water is added to make the paint.
To create the effect of shading, the glass is covered in the paint
and, when it's dry, the design is scratched off.
-So, Nicki, can you match that pattern on here?
-Oh, my goodness!
Right, here we go. Try that one, OK, let's have a little go...
What you're doing is controlling the amount of light
that comes through that piece of glass.
So, it's not important, the amount of paint you put on,
it's important, the amount that you take off.
Val, I've got to take this opportunity to ask you
just to show me how it should be done!
I think you've done very well, Nicki.
Here, they've taken all the paint off,
so I would scratch away at the edges.
And maybe a brush. So you can use all these different things
to get the effect that you want.
It's very painstaking. It's not something you can rush, really.
How wonderful, and also rewarding, that everything that you do
is going to be around not just for 150 years,
but a lot longer than that as well.
It is nice to be able to look at restored work
and think nobody knows it's been broken. That's the ideal, really.
I suppose that's the perfect compliment,
-if you can't see the join.
-That's fascinating. Val, thank you so much.
-It's been a pleasure.
Travelling 15 miles north takes us to our second property,
in the village of Goathland,
right in the middle of the North York Moors National Park.
Goathland forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster's private estate,
owned by Her Majesty the Queen.
On the outskirts of the village is our second property,
a statuesque semidetached house
which will ask Penny and Richard to think outside the box.
So, this time we've brought you into the actual National Park.
It is a very successful B&B business, it's got a great reputation,
lots of returning customers.
How would you think about running it, two families side-by-side?
Yeah, something we've spoken about, but not in great depth.
Um, we were more swayed towards the holiday lets and the glamping,
but it doesn't hurt to look at all the options.
-Absolutely. Shall we step inside?
So, this is, one, a very large house,
and two, there's quite a lot to explain.
But this is the private part of the house.
So, this will be the first sitting room that we are going to show you.
-And then I'll explain more as we go on.
I'm not getting the same expression as I had with the first property!
Well, no, because you spoiled us with that one
and this is completely different.
Well, it is, because this is a business.
Roughly how much do you think you could make a year?
I wouldn't have a clue.
-Around £50,000 a year.
-That's not bad income, is it?
As we move through this colourful sitting room
in this dual-purpose home,
we find ourselves in an equally vibrant kitchen.
But will this room be to Richard's taste?
No, sorry. It's not me!
But things can be changed, if it's not quite right for you.
In addition to the bold kitchen, there's a utility room
and a private dining room.
There's also one guest bedroom, a guest dining room
and a further room in an extension.
Moving upstairs to the first floor,
there is another three guest bedrooms, each with an en suite
and each with a statement to make.
So, this B&B has four different themed rooms.
Obviously, this is the black and white theme!
My goodness! A bit overpowering for me, that one.
But standing here, seeing how well this B&B has been done,
-are you tempted?
-I've always thought about it.
And it's always been my husband that has... It's hard work.
In this house, the owners' private living quarters
are on the second floor.
There's a family bathroom and three bold double bedrooms.
I normally say, "Would you change anything?"
-I don't think I need to ask that!
-Definitely, the decor.
-The decor for the private area.
But if you changed every room in this house, my goodness,
-it would be an awful lot of work!
There is certainly a lot of house here,
and it's set in a stunning location too,
which can be seen in all its glory as we step outside.
-So, this is your land, and that's moorland. Just there.
It's got to be right from the business point of view,
but I appreciate it's also got to be right as a home.
So let's see if the price makes any difference.
-I think it's going to be 585,000.
-Oh, my goodness!
-I'm sorry, that's what it would be worth to me.
-Who is closest?
That's the question. And it's going to be...
-Yeah. Asking price is £450,000.
-Is it really?
I'm totally shocked!
This semidetached stone house
is a cool £100,000 under Penny and Richard's budget,
which would leave them plenty of cash
to give it a makeover to suit their tastes.
And as an existing bed and breakfast,
if they choose it as their new home it would make them money, too.
It's got enough bedrooms for them,
plus guests and private living quarters.
And its location couldn't be closer to nature,
perfect for long family walks,
but not too far from civilisation, either.
I may have to fight the corner for house two!
Um, it's a something for me to consider
and maybe talk to the others about,
but for me, I can really see the business potential.
My feelings about house two, very disappointing after house one!
Because, as a home, it's going to be a no-no for Jenny and myself,
but as a business for Penny and Mark, fantastic.
-It's impressive, isn't it?
-But residential, for myself and my wife, no-no.
-No, not a home?
-Oh, still got some work to do, haven't I?
-OK, let's go.
As you can see, Jules, it was tricky finding a property
suitable for both sides of the family.
Penny's focus was on the business, but Richard's was on the home.
Well, we are seeing more of that -
with the recession and rising house prices,
generations coming together to pool their resources.
It does make sense, in fact, some estate agents claim
that half a million people have adopted that approach.
Well, I'm all for it - if it works, why not?
But let's get back to Mel and Holly
and see how their property search in Yorkshire was getting on,
with £375,000 to spend.
Our final property, the Mystery House,
is in the village of Carperby,
which is situated 30 miles from Darlington,
so quite a bit further than the other two houses
for access to family.
Carperby is a small village in the Dales
with a well-known hotel, The Wheatsheaf,
where author James Herriot and his bride spent their honeymoon.
Our house is stone-built and sits in the centre of the village.
It's very different from the other two houses
as it offers a separate annexe,
which could offer real business potential,
but this house does require some imagination.
Right then, here we are, Mystery House.
Now, it used to be a bungalow...
..but it's not any more.
20 years ago, they put a second floor on.
But, importantly, this one comes with a completely detached annexe.
Now, I know it wasn't something you had to have,
-but we are thinking ahead about what business may come your way.
So we're thinking, if you do want a holiday-let business,
then it's got to be in a holiday area, and this is it.
Now, structurally it's all there,
but it is going to need a bit of TLC in terms of its decor.
Let's see what you think.
-Slightly different from house two.
Very different from house two,
-and I'm very conscious of the fact that we are...
..trying to compare one with another.
What this one lacks in terms of decor and finish
it makes up for in extra space because of the annexe next-door,
and the views, obviously.
-I think we've spoilt you with number two!
I am keeping an open mind.
-Yeah, the fireplace is nice.
The stone wall's nice. OK, we need to see a bit more.
Have a look in here. This is the kitchen.
There we go.
Again, I mean, this does need some updating.
There's no cosy, warm feeling,
and obviously things aren't quite to our taste.
You're struggling with this,
because you've never really had to consider
what to do with a property before, have you?
No. No, I haven't.
So it's quite difficult to see past the current decor, I think.
Well, there's lots to see here.
Let's go upstairs and then we'll go out to the annexe.
Downstairs, the house also has a dining room
as well as a fourth bedroom.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms -
a double being used as a single,
a good-sized double, and a large family bathroom with corner bath.
And then this is the master, Mel.
-Yeah. Yeah, this is nice. A good size.
It has an en-suite shower room and, of course, those views.
-The views are beautiful.
The main property itself is, frankly,
-almost as big as the annexe.
So let's go and have a look at that,
and then we'll enjoy those views and talk about the money, yeah?
'I'm hoping that they'll like the annexe.
'It's currently used as a workshop,
'but it could easily be subdivided and let out to provide income.'
So it's arranged over two levels.
We're going to start with this one, though.
What do you think of this?
You see what I mean? The footprint of this annexe is huge.
Yeah, it is huge. This is a massive space.
That door through there is a separate storeroom.
That could become, for example, a bathroom,
-if it needed to be.
-Yes, it could.
And upstairs you've got, already,
a kitchenette, a living room
and a double bedroom.
So this is just waiting for somebody to kind of take it on.
It's a bit more inspiring here.
Yeah, definitely could use this space.
Right then, money.
-Let's go and talk about it in the garden.
'Outside, the property has a rear south-facing garden
'with amazing views over the Dales.'
So let's think about the price, then, of our Mystery House.
I was going to go a little bit higher...
It's not 320,000, I'm afraid.
It's on at 370,000.
And that is the draw of THAT, and this part of the world.
This property is priced £5,000 less than their top budget
and would offer them a detached stone house
with superb views over the Dales.
There are four bedrooms,
with an en-suite master.
Next to the house is the annexe,
with a generous downstairs room
with upstairs living accommodation.
And outside there are south-facing gardens
and also a garage.
Oh, this is a great area, Holly.
Yeah, it's a nice space.
This would be brilliant for you, actually.
-Yeah. Friends and stuff in here.
The price for the Mystery House was really high.
I got a bit of a shock, but then it does have the holiday-let potential,
so it's actually two houses.
But there's so much work to be done.
Look at that - a lovely Dales scene.
All our house tours are over.
We need to sit you down and get you to think about
all the options we've given you.
-Happy so far?
-Ready for a drink?
Come on, then.
Well, girls, we gave you three properties to consider.
Let me have a stab at where we're at.
Property number one, our gorgeous barn conversion,
was certainly affordable
but, at the end of the day, you still thought it was a bungalow.
Our Mystery House had in the past been a bungalow
and then had been much extended
but, despite all of that, it still wasn't gorgeous enough.
Which leaves property number two,
which I think you rather fell in love with.
-Yeah. We loved it.
-Yeah, we really did.
So what happens next, then?
Well, we've had a think
and I think the next step is that we need to get Lily involved.
We'd really like Lily to see it, wouldn't we?
Yeah. I think she'll feel quite similar to how we feel.
It is a beautiful house,
but I have to tell you
that we have heard that the owners
are today considering an offer that has just come in,
so you are going to have to be pretty quick about it.
I don't know how fast you can get Lily up here,
but I suggest you make a phone call and get her on a train right now,
because it probably is a matter of a day or two
before they accept that offer.
But you're well within striking distance of bettering it.
-I think it's a cracking house.
So all that remains is for me to wish you all the very best of luck,
-offer you a toast...
..and perhaps remind you, if you do want property two,
-get your skates on. Cheers!
-They massively underestimated the price on that one!
-Didn't they just!
And up to that point, Mel had been doing really well,
but it does go to prove, Nicki, that it's all about location.
Our Mystery House was the only one that was actually in the Dales,
but that can bring a £20,000 premium with it.
-Well, shall we see if my Mystery House got a better reception?
Back to Richard and Penny, with their £550,000 budget.
Did our final, unusual proposition
provide them with the rural property they were after?
For our third and final visit,
we're travelling just under 11 miles north-east
to the village of Hawsker,
just south of Whitby and also part of the North York Moors National Park.
The traditional maritime town of Whitby,
where Captain James Cook supposedly trained as a seaman in the 1700s,
has a busy harbour at its centre.
A seven-minute drive away, outside the village of Hawsker,
is our last property, in the shadow of a fully functional lighthouse.
So, I think when it comes to mystery properties -
well, this one is in a league of its own, because it is a foghorn station!
-Ever been to one before?
-Walked right past that, from Whitby!
-Have you really?
-What do you think?
-Oh, my goodness!
-That is what I think. Totally shocked.
-We've really surprised you?
For me, yeah.
-And the good news is, this is a home, but it's also a business.
Yeah. Built about 1850, originally it was a lighthouse, believe it or not,
then it became a hornblower cottage, and that really ran until 1988.
The foghorn used to sound four times every minute and a half,
working alongside the lighthouse in stormy conditions
to warn passing boats of the cliffs below.
Did you ever hear it in action?
We B&B-ed in Whitby, and that was booming when the fog came in.
-So you've actually heard it?
-We actually heard it, all night long!
Part of this unique property is divided into two cottages,
and we are entering the smaller of the two through a side door,
leading straight into a dining area.
I've got this cottage earmarked as Richard and his wife Jenny's.
I'm going to start off, I think,
we'll make sure Richard is happy with his part of the property.
-This is your kitchen.
This property is all on one floor,
but the room next door to the kitchen is on a slightly higher level.
So, just up a few little stairs
-and it leads us to an open-plan living space.
This side of the old foghorn station is currently used as a holiday let,
and included in the living room are the sleeping quarters,
which could be partitioned off for added privacy.
And then, behind us,
we've got a really beautifully appointed bathroom.
Quite good, isn't it? It works, don't it, for that style of house?
-Totally different, not at all what I expected.
Very light, airy and spacious.
So, we've seen just a small part of what's on offer here,
and next door is another cottage,
accessed through the first property's kitchen, or through an outside door.
And down a long corridor is a large kitchen-diner.
It's not terrible, it's not to my standard...
But the space, that's what you have to look at, isn't it?
Because you can change everything else.
Beyond the kitchen is a small sitting room
and, beyond that, there are three bedrooms, all doubles,
and the largest is dual-aspect with its own en suite.
-So, this is the master bedroom.
-Mm-hm. Nice size. Nice light.
Lovely view of the lighthouse and the sea, together.
-Wouldn't it be great to wake up to that?
So far, I've shown Penny and Richard a cottage for each of them
and their partners.
And the last stop is a third, smaller annexe.
Attached to the rest of the property, but with its own front door,
it could work for their new business venture.
-This is a self-contained holiday let.
Right, it goes on, doesn't it?
Double bedroom, bathroom and then a kitchenette.
-Plus a sort of sitting area.
-First impression - a bit pokey.
You do have about an acre of land,
so if you still had the dream for glamping and your own yurt,
you could get a yurt there, that's your land.
-Lot to think about.
From what we've seen, this one-off home with its spectacular views
is offering Penny and Richard everything they've asked for.
Plus, outside, there's also a shed, a garage and an outbuilding.
Now I want to show them the full extent of its unusual exterior
and its clifftop location.
-Let's put a price on this thing, shall we?
-Oh, my goodness.
Very difficult, but I'm just going to say 485,000.
-Come on, Daddy, what do you reckon?
-Who is closest?
Oh! So I was nearest.
This extraordinary converted foghorn station
is £25,000 under Penny and Richard's budget
and offers them two adjoining properties
for them and their partners,
plus a third, perfect as a holiday let
with good earning potential.
It's set in around an acre of land
which could easily accommodate yurts,
and there are spectacular views out to sea.
The property is in a quiet location,
a walker's paradise,
but not far from the local village and town.
When I first came, I said I didn't want anything quirky.
But now you've shown me something quirky...
I think I'm a bit more open-minded.
Because it's totally and utterly different
to anything I would ever think of looking at.
The potential is there.
And...just got to go away and think about it.
This mystery house has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. Right!
-How are we feeling?
Takes it out of you, all this house-hunting.
But, hopefully, you might have got close.
So let's go somewhere quiet, sit down, have a chat
and work out what your next step's going to be.
You set us quite a challenge.
-But have we challenged you over the last few days?
-You certainly have.
What is the next move going to be?
With the last surprise one,
a possibility that we need to go back to our partners and say
we need to have a look at that one
and see what comes of it, because the potential's there.
It does sound like, with the mystery house,
-we've got tantalisingly close.
-I would say so.
Because you've got the business, you've got the two houses,
you've got a lot of options.
We're thrilled that we have got as close as we can.
And there is a chance
that the mystery house might work, mightn't it?
If that doesn't happen, what are you going to do?
I'm thinking more
me and Mark maybe going it alone,
maybe to do bed and breakfast.
-So, Richard, how would you feel about that?
-You wouldn't mind?
-I wouldn't mind. Not at all.
Well, listen, we wish you well.
I'm not quite sure which direction your lives are going to take,
is the honest truth.
It's been a really big thinking process, hasn't it?
-It has, for all of us.
-Nicki, what a perfect Mystery House.
I think it has to be one of my favourites of all time.
The fact that Richard can remember
the foghorn going off when it was operational
has to be the icing on the cake.
-But is he going to hear it again?
-Are they moving in?
I'd love to sit here and say yes, but, sadly, no.
They did truly love the property,
but the fact it was so close to the cliff edge concerned them.
They were worried about insurance.
Now, the fact is, you can get specialist insurance
on practically any building, but the premiums would be higher.
I think that was their concern.
I think it really depends on how deep your pockets are,
how much you love the property and how much you want to take the risk.
Mel and Holly, they're still committed to moving up north
but they haven't yet sold their current home,
so they're stuck in that horrible forward chain.
My advice to anybody in that position would be,
wait until you've got a really serious buyer that's interested
before you start searching.
And, hopefully, it might wash away some of the inevitable frustration
and make the whole process a little bit quicker.
Yeah, it is frustrating. Good word for it.
In an ideal world,
you'd find a property that doesn't have a chain attached to it at all.
-If only it were an ideal world.
-Wouldn't that be lovely? Ah, well.
We hope you've enjoyed our journey through stunning North Yorkshire.
And you can join us again as we travel through more of rural Britain.
-See you again.
-See you next time.
If you'd like to escape to the country
in either England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland,
or maybe further afield to the continent, and would like our help,
you can apply online at:
Nicki Chapman and Jules Hudson showcase the county of North Yorkshire in a special episode of Escape to the Country, where they reflect on the property searches of two couples looking for rural retreats.
While highlighting North Yorkshire's architectural gems, Jules and Nicki offer hints and tips on buying in the area. Jules visits Richmond Castle to discover its wartime secrets, and Nicki tries her hand at restoring an historic stained-glass window.