Jules Hudson visits Herefordshire with a couple in search of a property they can run as a B&B. They need at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate dining room.
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We're in a county that shares its name with one of the most famous breeds of livestock in the world.
Any ideas where we are? Do these fellows look familiar to you?
Well, stick around on Escape To The Country and all will be revealed.
In today's show, we'll be helping a couple search, not only for a new home,
but also the perfect place from which to run a bed-and-breakfast business.
-Half of that big barn.
-Half. That's excellent.
-That looks very big.
We'll be taking them on a tour of superb properties
and revealing a room that their guests will never forget.
It's not cosy. It's, sort of, baronial.
And there's the mystery house,
always added to stir things up.
But will any of our choices get them packing their boxes?
Well, today I'm in Herefordshire.
And this noisy and somewhat hectic scene behind me is Hereford's own cattle market.
They've been selling cattle here for hundreds of years.
They used to sell them in the main street, outside the bank.
Appropriate enough, when you consider how much money these animals do go for.
But today, nearly 200 of these will go underneath the auctioneer's hammer. But here's some advice.
Don't scratch your nose, or put your hand up.
You may go home with far more than you bargained for.
Herefordshire is largely a carpet of patchwork fields
and sits snug up against the Welsh border.
As a county, it feeds and hydrates us rather well.
The world-famous Hereford cattle are bred for their high-quality beef.
And the 350-year-old cider industry is still important.
Property-wise, the county is known for its black-and-white villages.
A term that was given, due to the high number of timber-framed houses,
some dating back to medieval times.
With the Malvern Hills to the east,
and miles of countryside around, Herefordshire offers a mix of landscapes
and plays host to a wide range of country pursuits.
If you've never previously thought
about moving to Herefordshire, you might want to think again.
Your average detached will set you back around £278,000.
It is 5% above the national average.
But compare that to Gloucestershire
where the rise is 20%, you can see that it is fantastic news
if you are after a bargain.
And great for today's buyers.
And they are Martin and Anne,
who live in a five bedroom house in Walsall, in the West Midlands.
They're teachers and keen ramblers.
Having raised four children, they're now looking forward to semi-retirement
and starting a new little business in the idyllic Herefordshire countryside.
The main reason we'd like to move to the country,
is because we enjoy being out in the countryside walking.
We'd like to be able to walk from our door into beautiful surroundings.
Not be surrounded by traffic and noise all the time.
We are hoping to run a little B & B for a few years.
We'd like to cater for walkers.
Because we enjoy walking and obviously we enjoy
the company of people who enjoy walking.
Martin and Anne's Christian faith is an important part of their lives.
They are already seeing how it will fit in with their new life.
Well, the kind of live we dream of in the country will involve us going out walking in the hills.
Walking to the pub. Going to church together.
We want to join the choir.
I want to ring the bells.
That's the sort of thing.
They've lived in their current property for 23 years.
And, whilst it's been a great home for the family, as is often the case, it's not perfect.
As you can see, we live on a really busy road.
I'm really looking forward to getting away from all this noise and pollution
and living in a nice, peaceful area.
Well, this kitchen's fine. But it's not really big enough for two people to work in.
And when we're in our new house, we hope we'll both be cooking together.
And so it would be nice if we had a lovely, big, traditional kitchen.
And with aspirations of growing their own food, Anne has an important request.
As you can see, we grow a few gooseberries
and a bit of rhubarb here. We have a herb wheel in the garden,
but we haven't a lot of room, it's a tiny patch.
We'd love a lot more room to grow our own fresh fruit and vegetables.
Those requests all seem reasonable.
What sort of property would make them a comfortable home
and give them the accommodation to run a B & B?
A character property, in a beautiful area.
With at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate dining area.
Well, it sounds great. But, before we start, we've invited round a local estate agent
to value the home they bought for £38,000.
This is a beautiful extended five-bed, semidetached property,
set in the lovely village of Aldridge.
Great transport links. Great schools.
In the current market conditions, I would recommend putting the property on the market for £225,000.
Well, it's a little disappointing.
Although, we were expecting the prices not to be so good
because of the state of the economy.
However, if the price of the house that we're going to buy has also come down a little,
then we won't be any worse off.
It's a pragmatic approach.
So, how much money is available for the new home?
For our perfect property, if it ticks all the boxes, £275,000.
Now, in an ideal world for most of us, money would be no object.
We could all rush out and buy beautiful Tudor farmhouses like the one behind me.
But, of course, for Martin and Anne, money is an object.
And for their budget, they're looking for at least three, maybe four, bedrooms,
a separate dining room in which to entertain their new paying guests,
a characterful house that they and their guests, will enjoy and remember,
and something of a garden, to allow a bit of a vegetable plot.
Now, the budget is a challenge,
but I think we'll manage.
Martin and Anne are open-minded as to their location.
But their new home needs to be suitably placed to attract B & B customers.
So, we're focusing our search in the countryside to the west of Leominster.
We'll be taking them on a whistle-stop tour
of gorgeous country homes in Herefordshire.
We may even nip over the border in search of irresistible property.
And, as ever, our final stop will be the mystery house.
A property specially selected for its unique qualities.
The thing I love about house-hunting in this part of the world is the choice.
You've got everything from medieval, to Georgian, to Victorian.
Quaint little cottages and gorgeous red-brick farmhouses.
Whatever you fancy, I'm sure that Herefordshire will give it to you.
If you're lucky enough to have a healthy budget, how about this fine home?
Perched high up in the Wye Valley, on the market for 975.
Dating back to 1780, the rooms have grand proportions.
And most of them have views over the garden and countryside beyond.
Or, if like Martin and Anne, you fancy running a B & B, then how about stumping up
50 grand short of 700,000 for this established B & B property in Whitchurch
which also comes with two holiday cottages.
It's spacious and characterful and has beautiful gardens,
the perfect place for soaking up the fresh country air.
Alternatively, this Grade II-listed former farmhouse in Wigmore is up for sale, for 425.
The four-bedroom house retains many of its original timbers
and will appeal to those looking for a characterful country home.
Well, Anne and Martin, welcome to Herefordshire,
-I suppose I should say.
-Thank you very much.
-Now, this is quite a project, isn't it?
This is some change from what you're used to.
-Yes. Big change of lifestyle.
-Massive change of lifestyle.
Yes. Cos we've always lived in the town
and now we want to live in the country.
Well, you've definitely come to the right place.
But you are doing this with some ambition, aren't you?
Because your budget is not the biggest in the world.
-And you are thinking about a bit of B & B on the side.
We're hoping to supplement our meagre income, with a bit of B & B.
Now, let's just be sure about the budget - 275?
275. But we have more.
Because we're sort of holding back a bit of capital.
If we got an extra bedroom for letting
then we would, perhaps, put that bit of capital in.
So, 275, with three bedrooms. Maybe three, or thereabouts, with four.
Or perhaps a little bit more. Perhaps 320.
Interesting. All right. B & B is quite good fun.
I grew up in a B & B. My mum ran a B & B for over 30-odd years.
So, I know roughly what you're taking on.
Whether or not you do or not, is another question.
We'll see what you make of the properties we've got to offer you.
But all of them will allow this to happen in some measure.
Let's see if you like a bit of country life.
-Come on, then.
Jump in, jump in.
So, Martin and Anne have a budget of £275,000 for a three-bedroom house.
Or up to 320 for a four-bed.
They're looking for a large kitchen,
so they have enough room to cook together,
a separate dining room,
two bathrooms so they don't have to share with guests,
and a garden big enough for them to grow vegetables.
Now, whose idea was it
to enter the world of B & B?
It was Anne's idea originally, she's said for years that she'd like to run a B & B.
And I said, "And I'd like to go and live in a grass hut in Tahiti,"
but, actually, hers just seemed to be a runner
and mine doesn't. And the more we thought about it,
the more practicable we thought it would be.
Well, there is no time to waste.
The first house in our hit list is in Staunton on Wye,
ten miles west of Hereford.
The focal point of the village is the 13th-century church,
where I'm sure Martin and Anne will make many new friends,
and the village pub,
that was on their wish list, is just a stone's throw down the road.
The house we are about to view is the old doctor's surgery,
but there's not a trace of a clinical feel. It's a comfortable, cosy home, with splendid views.
Now, have a look at that.
It's an amazing view. That's just what we want, it's beautiful.
Those are actually the Merbach Hills. If you keep going along those,
which you might do, if you want to go walking, you end up in the Brecon Beacons.
That's just what we want.
You're in great walking country, aren't you?
This is what I want you to have a look at, this lovely cottage.
It was a two-up, two-down, the bulk of it behind the front door.
Recently, it's been much extended to give it,
-..a lot more space. Let's see what you think.
Come on in, Anne. Grab the door, Martin.
This is lovely.
Is this your sort of thing?
Yes, I really like this, cos it's cosy,
-and it's not poky.
-Yeah. It's a mixture of timber beams,
-as you can see, and brick.
-They've removed some of the panels to open it up.
That's what stops it being poky and makes it a more attractive room.
I like the fireplace. The beams are lovely.
-And the ceiling's... Yeah, it's good.
-It's high enough for us.
Let's have a look in here. Big enough for you and all your guests?
I think it'll be big enough for our guests. I don't think we could eat in here with our guests.
But perhaps we could eat in the kitchen.
-Perhaps you could eat in the kitchen!
Perhaps you could eat in the kitchen! Come through to the kitchen.
This, I think, might answer the question about the dining area.
This is an extension that's been added in the last five years.
It's quite big, isn't it?
It's bigger than we have at the moment. I like the painted cupboards,
the cooker at that height's really useful, eye-level grill,
it's very practical for cooking.
It's nice that the modern bit of the house is the bit that's got to be especially hygienic.
The interesting old part for sitting in, but the part where we really want to keep it clean and safe,
it's modenrn and easy to use.
'Leading off the kitchen is a study, but Martin and Anne could use this as an additional bedroom.
'And there is a shower room just next door.
'In addition to that, there are three more bedrooms upstairs.
'The first is a single, and the smallest of the three, but we're going to head next door.'
This would be your guests' room.
-I think if I was staying here, I'd be reasonably content.
-Happy with this.
Certainly have a nice view out the window.
If you wanted to stay in a cottage in Herefordshire,
-this is the kind of bedroom you'd want to stay in.
-It's nice. It's a lovely shape.
-Let's check the bathroom out.
-The bathroom is all-important.
-Lead the way!
'So that's the guests sorted, but what about the bathroom?'
Yeah... JULES LAUGHS
Oh, it's nice, when you get in. We'll have to be very careful of that ceiling.
-But once you're in...
-Once you're in, it's a reasonable amount of room.
I love this, I love these painted boards.
-Nice, white suite.
-Now, this is the bathroom
you would probably have to share with your guests,
although don't forget, you've got the downstairs shower room.
I was thinking we might manage with that downstairs shower room when we've got guests.
-And leave them with this.
-Yes, so they can spread themselves.
Well, the good news is, you don't need to share your master bedroom.
-That's all yours. Come and have a look at this.
-Isn't that the smallest master-bedroom door
you've ever seen?
Come on in!
Come on in.
Again, I think, decorated in the way that one would expect a nice country B & B to be.
Yes, it's nice.
It's a really nice room.
You've got lovely views again of the Merbach Hills.
I think it would work,
it would work as a one-letting-bedroom bed and breakfast.
-Mm-hmm. Or we could even be thinking of one double and a single.
That's pretty much it for the interior.
Let's go outside,
-have a quick look at the rest of it...
-..and then we'll have a think about how much it might cost you.
Off you go. Lead on, Martin.
'It looks like this cottage really could work as a B & B for Martin and Anne.
'Outside, there's a single garage, and just to the rear is a patio area where guests could relax.'
So, you've got another little terraced area.
Maybe your guests would have breakfast up here.
Mmm. It'll get the evening sun, certainly.
But it might get the morning sun as well.
Well, any excuse to look at that, really, I would suggest!
Come down here.
I don't know how much of a garden you really want to have to keep on top of,
but this is very, very manageable.
It is. It's big enough.
It's big enough, and you might squeeze a greenhouse in.
-You certainly could.
Some place where I can go and commune with the tomatoes.
-Get away from the guests!
-Get away from the wife!
Leave Anne to look after the guests.
I suppose that bring us neatly on to wonder about how this place sits in relation to your budget of 275.
Your hopeful budget, given that this is three bedrooms,
that's the figure we're chasing.
What do you think? What's it worth?
We could afford 275 for this house, I think.
I think it might be a little bit more expensive.
-Shall we say 280?
Yes, I think I'd go along with that.
-Is it up for less?
-It is up for less.
-Oh! JULES LAUGHS
By 500 quid!
-500 quid shy of £280,000. Go on, why don't you go inside
and have a look around, and see if this will be your new B & B.
-I'll catch up with you later.
-We'll do that.
-Off you go.
Well, there we are, just shy of £280,000. You do get a very attractive cottage,
an absolutely fantastic view, and the possibility of running a small little business within it.
Is it for them? Well, who knows?
It's not the only house we're going to show them, but it may be the one they're going to buy.
So this cosy cottage is a shade over their budget for a three-bedroom property,
at £279,500. But I'm sure they could make an offer a touch lower.
It has the separate dining room they were looking for,
3 bedrooms, but the study could become a fourth,
a reasonable-sized garden with patio area,
and of course, those splendid, uninterrupted views.
Now this is a really nice room, but there isn't a lot of storage space in it,
and I know I'll have to cut my clothes enormously.
And also, the guest bathroom's there, right outside our door.
Really, to my mind, will the guests be happy?
They've got to come out of their bedroom, down the stairs, up the stairs and into the bathroom.
I think this is a place we could live and run a B & B in, erm...
..probably. So I have a little doubt about it.
From what I've seen, the location seems fine,
and as far as walking country's concerned, it's perfect.
I'm not absolutely certain. It is a little bit small.
But it is a very pretty house. Very nice. I am very drawn to it. I really like it.
Ah-ha! Our first guest!
-Well, you never know! Maybe I will be your first guest!
Enjoying the view! What about that?
-It's a lovely property. Really nice to look around here.
It is a great one, and of course, that comes with it for nothing.
BUT it's not over, there's plenty more to show you. And it's still sunny.
-That's right. This must be Herefordshire weather.
Martin and Anne's move can't come soon enough.
They're eager to explore what will be their new surroundings.
So they're taking some time to get to know the area.
Historic Leominster dates back to the 7th century.
This is a real tourist hot spot,
isn't it? Lots of lovely tearooms and antique shops.
Yeah, just the place for a B & B.
The small town is awash with medieval buildings
and, with its fine selection of specialist shops and eateries,
it makes an ideal place for an afternoon stroll.
Just four miles up the road is Croft Castle.
Parts of it, including the walls and towers, date back to the 14th century,
although the 18th-century interior has just undergone a refurbishment,
restoring it to its former glory.
Good old fireplace here, Anne.
It's a fantastic fireplace, what a size!
All we need is a cup of tea and a piece of toast.
With Martin and Anne's passion for walking,
they couldn't resist a visit to Queenswood Country Park.
The 103 acres of semi-natural ancient woodland
are home to over 500 rare and exotic trees.
This would be a lovely place to walk if we come here, Martin.
Yes. Just look down there.
On the cusp of autumn, the trees are just changing colour, and ready to put on a magnificent display.
It's a place I'm sure Martin and Anne will never tire of.
Our next house stands on its own, at Brierley Hill, just a couple of miles from the Welsh border.
Wigmore, a few miles away, is the place where Martin and Anne
can throw themselves into the local community.
The village is characterised by its 17th-century timber-frame buildings.
And sitting at its heart is the 11th-century church.
The bonus with the house is that it sits right next to the Herefordshire Trail,
a popular walk that should deliver B & B business right to their doorstep.
So, this is a house not to be missed.
-What about that?
-Oh, that's a fabulous view.
Second great view of the day.
But the most important thing, is that property there.
-That's the cottage. Great.
-It is, isn't it? It's absolutely huge.
It's quite deceptive, actually.
It's long and thin. Originally two cottages,
now knocked into one. I think it's got a lot of scope.
And I think that the fact that it's on the Trail...
That's a real plus, that is.
It's a real bonus, yeah. Well, let's go in see what you make of it.
Come on in.
Tiny little hallway.
You imagine this as two cottages, we're going through the middle.
But let's start in here.
This is the, well, the living room.
-This is your reception room.
-This is nice.
-Yes, very nice.
-Yes, like this.
Nice, big, stone fireplace.
Like the beams in the wall.
This is as wide as the house is, though. That's it.
It looked so enormous from outside, but it's one room.
and they're small cottage-y rooms.
It's a nice room. It's a nice room. I like it.
-It's not all that small.
Your walking guests would enjoy this.
They'd appreciate this.
Especially, as it's so near the walk.
But, you know, if I'm walking through the countryside
and I'm dreaming of my ideal stopover,
you know, open fireplaces, stone surrounds, beams, cosy, glass of wine...
That's the job.
This would be perfect. It's a proper, rural, Herefordshire house.
-But, come on. Come through, here.
This is the, this is the kitchen-dining room, I suppose.
Now, what do you think of this?
It's lovely. What a great fireplace.
-It is the mother of all inglenooks, isn't it?
-We could smoke our own hams in there.
-We'll definitely be warm enough with that going.
-Nice dining room.
-I like the French windows, as well.
They go someway to describing what's happening with this place.
It's midway through, you know, quite a detailed renovation,
Some of the doors have been done,
some of the windows have been done.
Other bits need doing.
You'll see that as we go through.
Come and look at the kitchen.
This is where you're going to have to prepare all these meals
and so forth, Anne.
Come in here.
Now, I think this is you, all over.
It's beautiful. That's really nice.
It's a really lovely kitchen.
And the free-standing furniture, the table.
I could work at the table.
Plenty of room and we could eat at the table.
It's big enough, I'm sure.
You'd make it cosy with that.
I love this stove. This is great. This is beautiful.
Let's think about upstairs.
That's going to really put the icing on the cake, isn't it?
Four bedrooms, enough?
Four bedrooms is great.
-Now, on the way up, you notice the stairs split.
Don't forget it was two cottages that have now been amalgamated.
But this end of things would be something of a guest wing.
You've got a bathroom in there. Needs a bit of work.
-But in here, guest room.
-Yes, lovely, very nice.
Really nice room.
I like it. Fabulous view.
-Well, yeah, who wouldn't remember...
-Fabulous view everywhere.
Who wouldn't remember waking up to that?
The great thing about having the bathroom,
next door, means that this whole end is for the guests.
They don't need to bother you at all.
But it does mean that the rest of it, down there, is for you.
-Nice and private.
-That sounds good.
Let's go and check it out. Lead on, Martin.
'Thankfully, the DIY work doesn't seem to have frightened them.
'Along the landing are two single bedrooms
'which would have been in the different cottages,
'but they could be knocked into one for a bigger room.'
This is the main room itself.
This is where you guys would have to squeeze yourselves in.
-It wouldn't be a tight squeeze, would it?
-No, I don't think so.
-But you've also got an en suite.
-Oh, that's nice.
I wondered what was sticking out.
That's what's going on in there.
En suite. Let's go outside, check out the final bits
and then we'll think about how much it's going to cost you.
How much it's going to be. Yes.
Despite the work needed, I think Martin and Anne are seeing the potential of this cottage
right next to the Herefordshire Trail.
Outside, the property's position on a hill means the garden is elevated.
Snuggling into the trees, is a seated are which would be lovely for hot summer days,
but the best thing about this garden is the privacy.
Well, they're your neighbours.
And, of course, the Herefordshire Trail goes right the way up that tree line.
Right. So, we can see the walkers coming down it.
That's where your prey is going to emerge from. Exactly.
I could get the greenhouse in somewhere.
Definitely. Even a few vegetables if you really fancied it.
-A bit of vegetable-growing.
How much do you like it, I wonder?
How much would we pay for it?
Well, now then.
Go on then, Anne. Make me an offer.
-Whether we could afford that, I don't know.
-But that's what I think it might be on at.
I would go for something lower.
I don't know whether that's what it's on the market for,
but I don't think it's worth, to us, more than about 280.
-It is technically on the market for £320,000.
-Now, you can see there is some work that needs doing.
It's certainly one, if you were interested, that I would...
-Knock them down.
that would explore just what you could realistically give.
Go on, go and have an explore.
-Thank you, we will.
Off you go.
At £320,000, this cottage is at the top end of Martin and Anne's budget.
However, it does offer them four bedrooms, including one en suite,
a kitchen-breakfast room,
and a separate dining room, too.
And its rural position, next to the Herefordshire Trail,
might bring in a steady stream of B & B customers.
It's quite remote, isn't it?
Well, I'm a bit dubious about it, really.
Because I envisaged us walking to the shop, you know.
Walking to the pub and to church, and meeting people.
-And not using the car.
Do you think we'll be lonely?
Maybe we could make this work as a B & B.
The location by the path is very good.
And the layout of the property is quite good.
Except that it doesn't give us two letting bedrooms,
only really one and maybe another one.
I think walkers would really be attracted to it. It's a lovely... Open fires, beautiful views.
A really nice cottage.
I think it would work.
If the Hereford Trail's well used, I think it could be a successful B & B.
Now, then, I think that was well worth you looking at.
It certainly was, yes.
It's not what you might have considered, originally.
-But, you know...
-It's very interesting.
-It's very tempting.
-I'm not sure, but very tempting.
-Let's think about it.
There's more to show you.
Let's see if we can tempt you with something else. Come on.
'Martin and Anne have always enjoyed an active role at their local church
'and, for Martin, it can't get more active than ringing the bells.
'He's been pulling the ropes for 24 years, so we've set up a treat
'at the Priory Church of St Peter & St Paul in Leominster, where we are meeting bell ringer Mark Pugh.'
Mark, nice to meet you.
You are relishing the chance to ring somewhere else, aren't you?
Yes, it's what we call "getting a tower grab".
A tower grab! It sounds sinister to me. Is it?
No. It's when visitors come along and want to have a go on our bells.
Where are the ropes?
I'm afraid they're up there.
'83 steps later...'
Wow! We've got some company!
Absolutely! This is our small band.
Martin, would you like to take number two and rise it after Jim?
Right, I'll do that.
What's happening, Mark?
They're practising ringing a scale from the lightest bell, which is the treble,
to the heaviest bell, which is known as the tenor.
And they're trying to get their gap and timing perfect.
And how heavy is the heaviest bell here?
Just over a ton in metric.
So is it quite difficult to keep that moving?
It's all technique. The larger the bell, the easier it is, when it's going,
to maintain. It's got a lot more momentum to it.
'Now Martin's warmed up, it's time for Anne and I to have a go.'
Here we go.
'I can see this is not straightforward!
'Now it's Anne's turn.'
'As I suspected, I think she's finding it tricky, too!'
It really is not just a case of pulling a rope, is it?
No, but it doesn't take years to learn to ring, it's just, you can keep on getting better
and learning to do more things.
'I think it's time to step out and let those who know what they're doing step back in.
'It really does sound wonderful!'
I've had a great time,
but I am dying to know one thing.
Do we all think Martin got his tower grab?
-Thank you very much!
There you go!
Martin and Anne from Walsall are house hunting in Herefordshire.
They're looking not only for a cosy home for themselves,
but also a property that provides enough accommodation to run a B & B business.
They have a budget of up to £320,000 for a four-bedroom house.
And so far they've seen two properties that offers possibilites.
Coming up, a house that makes Martin fall into his own trap.
I said I wasn't going to say "wow".
-Wow, is it?
And a mystery house that turns out to be a TARDIS.
Oh, really nice.
You don't think we'd be a bit short of space(?)
Well, it's the beginning of our final day's house-hunt,
with Martin and with Anne.
So far, I do think we've shown them some properties that fit the bill,
but space is the thing - they haven't quite, I don't think, been big enough.
But now, today, all that is going to change.
How much of an emotional experience do you think house hunting is for you?
Well, it is one, there's no doubt about that,
because it's so important to find the right place.
And it's not like going out to buy a pair of scissors, is it?
You've got to get it right.
It's the whole rest of our life
and it's our plan for our future.
It's all got to be wrapped up in this house so it is emotional.
It's very important.
Our first property today is in Pilleth, just over the Welsh border into Powys.
The small town of Knighton, just four miles away,
would offer Martin and Anne a whole range of facilities,
from shops and banks to pubs and restaurants
and there's a church, too.
The house we are about to see sits on one of the most important battlegrounds in Welsh history.
In 1402, the Welsh forces took up their place at the top of the hill
and defeated the English lying below.
St Mary's Church stands on the hillside, overlooking the property
and, without electricity, it offers magical candlelit services.
The house itself is a little remote,
but it's such a wonderful property, that I'm hoping the location won't put them off.
Well, as you can see, we've landed in something of a conversion here.
We've got this great big farmyard complex.
What it does is, it gives you neighbours.
-Yes. That's important.
-That's what I want you to look at.
-You end up with half of that big barn.
-Ah, that's excellent.
-That looks, that looks very big.
-Very capacious, yes.
It's very capacious. The couple that have renovated this, she's a carpenter
and has done the work herself.
Right. So, it's to a high standard, we can guess.
It's a very, very high standard.
And very thoughtfully worked out, in terms of the way the space works and so forth.
Whether it will fit you two, and your new life...
-Only one way to find out.
-Seems very tempting.
Let's go have a look.
Right, come on in.
-So, this is your hallway.
-Yes, very nice.
-Very nice, yeah.
Big barn conversion. The floor is...
Oh, it's beautiful. It's lovely.
Lovely flagstone floor.
These flags were originally in the barn,
they've been recycled into the new look.
-They're massive, as well, aren't they? Aren't they superb?
And this is all new oak, is it?
This is all new oak.
Green oak, a lot of it. So, it's all still settling and creaking a bit.
And then, of course, oak staircase.
Everything you see, pretty much, is oak.
Few things I'll to show you later,
but I want you to start in here.
-That is amazing.
-That's a lovely kitchen.
-That is a fantastic kitchen.
-Isn't it gorgeous?
It's absolutely great? I love this.
No, it's lovely. Really, really nice.
This kitchen would be fine, wouldn't it?
Everything we needed.
-Excellent, yeah. It's great, yeah.
-But it does lead on to this...
That's very attractive.
..which is your living room.
The principal living room-cum-dining room.
Perfect. Lovely log burner.
I said I wasn't going to say "wow".
-Wow is it. Yeah.
The floor? Fantastic.
Couldn't be better.
-It's, it's roomy.
-Yeah, yeah. Lots of room.
In fairness, your guests would have to use this area, too.
The people we'll get coming here will be walking people.
They're going to be willing to sit in
-and get on and be part of the family, really.
-I would imagine so, yeah.
People do that.
'Judging by their reactions, I think they are blown away by this place.
'And, quite honestly, I'm not surprised. It's gorgeous!
'At the other end of the house, is the study or fourth bedroom.
'And there's the beauty of a cloakroom right next door.
'And just next door to that, a handy utility room.
'I can't wait to show them the other three bedrooms upstairs,
'which are impressive, to say the least.'
More oak floors, oak beams...
-All the way up here.
-Oak, oak, oak.
Come on in.
-Oh, my goodness.
Oh, this is... SHE CHUCKLES
-Lost for words.
I am speechless. It's so wonderful!
It's a room that your guests would remember.
They would. They'd come again.
I think that's the key thing.
You know, effectively, you've got a living area, too.
There's no harm in putting a sofa or two in.
A TV, tea and coffee-making facilities. All that stuff.
Yeah, everything. It's absolutely stunning. It's fabulous!
Yes, it's not cosy.
-It's, sort of, baronial!
-THEY ALL LAUGH
You see yourself as a lord!
-That's it, yes!
-You've also then got this.
Have a look in there. That's the en suite.
That is so good!
Oh, I love it.
-Absolutely love it.
This is going to be too expensive.
Well, don't worry about the money!
You're buying a lifestyle. It's only money, Anne. Come on!
-You've got four bedrooms in this property, including the one downstairs.
I think, arguably, you could have two very good letting rooms.
We've seen two perfectly good letting bedrooms so far.
Well, it doesn't stop there.
The other two bedrooms up here are equally beautiful.
The room that I think would suit them certainly isn't second-best.
The timbers and the height of the rooms
really make this place feel special.
It's easy to see the care and attention to detail,
that has gone into the renovation. And, as you would expect,
the family bathroom is pretty stylish, too.
Let's wander into the garden and look at the other aspects of this house.
-It's the rear view, but it's still beautiful.
-Yes, it's a barn.
-It's a lovely barn.
-In terms of garden, what you see is what you get.
It's quite a small plot in some respects,
-for a country house. But I don't know how much you want to have to bother with.
-It's big enough.
I don't think it's that small. I don't think it is.
I think maybe the grandeur of the setting makes it look smaller.
-It's quite a big garden.
-There's room for my greenhouse.
-And room for vegetables.
-Plenty of room for vegetables.
Let's talk about the money, shall we?
-It's going to be too much!
-It's going to be too much!
It's so perfect. It's absolutely gorgeous.
Well, it's clearly going to budget the challenge a bit, OK?
Let's have a think about how much you think it's worth.
Well, to us, we would go to the limit for this one.
I'd bust a gut to get this!
And the limit is going to be 330. That's as far as we can possibly go.
Because it's got the four bedrooms?
-It's got everything we need. We don't need to do anything else.
But that's as much as we can raise.
-OK. So, £330,000 is what you're saying?
-Yes, we would go for that.
Would it surprise you if I told that this...
-was on the market for £385,000?
-No, it wouldn't surprise me at all!
You would, therefore, be delighted if I were to tell you that
it is now on the market for offers in excess...
That's it! It's ours. It's ours!
-So, you've got ten grand to, you know, trade on.
We've got to sell the house, but we'd go for it.
Have a look around and see how you might make the space work for you.
Go and indulge it. Remind yourself of what your dream might be.
-Right, we will, thank you very much.
-Off you go.
-Thanks a lot.
-Well, there we are.
Two very happy buyers, I am delighted to say.
This is, of course, stretching the budget to the top of its limit -
offers in excess of £320,000.
But I do believe it is within range. They can certainly afford it.
Do they want it? Yes, of course they do!
This barn conversion, with its £320,000 price tag,
would make a beautiful home for Martin and Anne,
and, without doubt, offer stunning B & B accommodation.
There's a hand-built kitchen,
a separate dining area, three-to-four bedrooms,
and it all sits in a fabulous rural position, with superb views.
It's lovely. It's absolutely perfect. I love this room.
-I love the whole house.
I've been walking round like a gibbering idiot!
I was speechless. I think it's absolutely fabulous.
Perfect for us. I feel absolutely at home.
I love it to bits. In fact, I'll be devastated if we don't get this one.
Let's go for it!
It's perfect. It's everything we wanted, and more.
It's not too remote, because there are some neighbours.
The building itself is wonderful.
Lost for words!
Well, that was a job, getting you out of here!
-We didn't want to leave.
-Close the door.
-Move in tomorrow.
Move in tomorrow? Well... Now then, our house search is not over yet.
There is one more to come and a few other bits and pieces to show you before you make your minds up.
Well, we've got to keep an open mind, I suppose!
You'll be hard pressed to beat this one.
Well, I like a challenge. Come on.
Martin and Anne have never been strangers to nature.
When they move, they're keen to get their walking boots on
and explore the local countryside.
They're keen to learn about foraging for food.
So, we've arranged for them to meet up with fungi expert, Sheila Spence
to learn a little more.
-Hello, pleased to meet you.
Sheila is showing them round Brockhampton Estate,
where fungi grows in abundance.
But, it takes an expert to know the difference between what's deadly and what's delicious.
This is a parasol mushroom.
It would have been edible and very good, maybe three or four days ago.
-But now it's gone over.
-How do you know they're not poisonous?
You have to learn. There's no easy way of doing it.
You have to learn what's edible and what's not,
out of the some 14,000-odd that you might find somewhere in the British countryside.
Well, that's our first one.
It's clear Martin and Anne are going to need an encyclopaedia of fungi
to be confident they're picking one of the 200 varieties that are safe to eat.
And Sheila has just spotted one.
Wow, look at this.
This is the ideal mushroom.
The parasol again. But it's in an excellent condition.
Fresh and wonderful to eat. So, what we do now, we just pull it out.
I don't believe in cutting it. We pull it out and it's ready to cook.
Sheila has come equipped with a camping stove.
And, before long, it's ready for the important bit. The tasting.
Is that for me? Thank you very much.
Mmm. That's great. Really lovely.
At long last, of course, it's mystery house time.
In a part of the world that is littered
with beautiful timber-framed houses, like this one,
it'd be very tempting to offer something similar as the mystery house.
But, of course, that would be far too obvious.
We're staying put in Wales for our mystery house
and it's in the village of Gladestry.
Buying a house here would place Martin and Anne just six miles
from Kington, back over the border in Herefordshire.
Despite this small market town's position, on the western edge
of Offa's Dyke, it has been English for over 1,000 years.
In Gladestry, I suspect the position and location
of this next house, couldn't be better for Martin and Anne.
But will it grab them as much as the last one?
Right, guys. Well, at last...
it's mystery house time.
Going back to this theme of walking, and holiday makers, of course,
-which has dominated our search...
..the mystery house here, I think, is a mystery house for two reasons.
-One, because we're on Offa's Dyke.
-Right. Good place for walking.
It's a fantastic place for walkers. We're actually on it.
-It runs through the road in front of us.
Well, it used to, once upon a time. It's now eroded.
The other reason the mystery house is the mystery house is because it's that converted Zionist chapel.
Right. It looks very smart. It looks very...well done.
-Yes, in good condition.
Yeah, it's interesting. It's nice.
-Attractive big windows.
-Let's go and have a look,
and see what you make of it.
Right, guys, up you come.
This is amazing.
-Martin, what do you think?
-Yes. Spacious, airy.
Lots of light. Like the big windows.
Yeah. But the key ingredient in it is, of course, the kitchen,
which again is, as you'd expect, it's only recently been renovated.
All of that is pretty new, really.
Yes, it's all... efficient, smart, clean.
It's modern and nice, and so forth.
It's not... It's not quite...
-country-ish, is it? It's not...
-I would say it's practical.
-I mean, it's certainly not...
I don't dislike it. It's just, sort of...
I don't know. It hasn't got the same warmth.
-It's not a hand-built, aged... country kitchen.
-No, it isn't. No.
What they done here is to put in a floor level behind me, there.
So, most of the living is upstairs
and most of the bedroom accommodation...
-That's probably making best use of these big windows.
-Well, indeed. It means your living area benefits from the height.
And down here, as I say,
is where you, and maybe your guests, would be accommodated.
-Let's have a look at that and see what you think.
Down here, there are three bedrooms.
The first is quite small, but it does fit two single beds.
Then there's another larger twin-bedded, or double room,
which I think could work for Martin and Anne.
Next door is the family bathroom which is small but clean and modern.
Last up is the master bedroom,
which I think should be for the bed and breakfast visitors.
Oh, yeah. It's a lovely square, balanced room, isn't it? It's lovely.
You've got this panelling running around it.
Yes, that's a nice feature.
'Now, it might not be a huge room,
'but it has an en suite bathroom, which the paying guests will appreciate.
'But the added bonus here is that it has a porch-cum-boot room,
'attached with a door to the outside,
'offering the guests, and of course Martin and Anne, plenty of privacy.
'Time now, though, to look at the upstairs.'
Come up here. I can't wait to see what you think...
Oh, yes, that is a lovely room.
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
-Oh, really nice.
-You don't think we'd be a bit short of space(?)
It's great, isn't it? You could do all sorts with this, actually.
-A barn dance!
-You could have a barn dance!
I don't know whether that's allowed in a chapel!
-That's lovely. Great big wood burner.
In terms of space, you know, they've got it arranged
with these two huge sofas in...in a kind of L-shape.
But you could break this up in terms of different zones.
Sofas in one area, tables...
-Nothing to stop you having another dining table.
-We might like to do that.
-A study area.
-Let's go outside. The views are quite interesting.
Let's go out through these doors onto the decking area
and think about how much it might set you back.
Right, out you come.
There we are. Something of a view for you.
Now, in terms of garden, all you've got is that.
Again, that's plenty.
-You've also got of parking there...
-Plenty of parking.
-..which is great for guests.
-Very useful. And camper vans.
-Bags of room for a green house.
That's not a problem. And then, you've got this decking area.
There's also something of a terrace down below us
which would allow a table and chairs. Underneath here,
a wood store, which you'll need for the wood burner.
-Yes, that would be true.
your budget of £275,000.
How far is it going to go, or indeed stretch, to achieve this place?
I think we'd definitely get the custom.
We've only got the one letting bedroom,
but it's a nice one. It's got the en suite and everything.
-So, that's good.
I think we might push it a little bit up,
but...I don't know. 280?
Yes, that sounds like a...
You'd be happy with £280,000 for this,
but you might think you need a few quid left over.
Supposing you could snap this up for £245,000?
-That would be great!
Yes, that would...
That's amazing. That's icing on the cake, really, isn't it?
-We wouldn't have to work very hard, then.
-We wouldn't, that's right.
Lots to think about, then, I suspect.
-We've got some choices to make.
-Choice is good.
-Choice is good, yes.
Having choices is good. Even being slightly undecided at this stage,
it's good because it'll make you focus your minds. Have a look around.
See what you get for 245 and see if it'll work for you.
-Go on, then. In you go.
Ah, I'll catch up with you later.
Well, there we are. That was it. That was the mystery house,
on the market for a cool £245,000.
It is nearly a quarter of a million,
but it is comfortably under their budget,
and it does expand their horizons, in terms of what they can buy
and how this country dream might actually come to life.
At £245,000, this converted chapel would offer them
unusual accommodation, in the heart of the village.
It's a characterful property.
It has the three bedrooms they need, a huge living room and a garden.
We'll definitely get walkers here.
-That's ideal downstairs, the little...
-I'm happy with that.
..boot area. Going into the bedroom separately. Yeah, that's good.
-I'm pleased with that.
Like this property.
Very impressed with this old chapel. It's got lots of character.
Interesting. An improvement on the house we live in, at the moment.
For us, it would be very practical.
This is our kitchen. Can you imagine cooking for the B & B in here?
Yeah. We've probably got the guests sitting at the table there,
-saying, "Where's my sausages?"
-We'll be frying.
-We'll be burning them!
Yes, that's right! But, I think we can cope with being on show.
Yeah, I think so.
I was very surprised at it.
It's amazing inside.
The fact that they fitted three beautiful bedrooms into the bottom
and that stupendous living room.
And, although it's not altogether to my taste,
I could see that I could really make something of it.
I could make it my own. It's really nice.
OK, well...the chapel.
What do you think we should call it?
Like, The Chapel B & B?
Zion Chapel B & B?
Or The Zion B & B?
It sounds like the most important bit's been sorted!
Once you get the name right, there's nothing else to worry about.
I think I'd put my vote on The Chapel.
-The Chapel B & B.
-Come and stay at The Chapel.
-There you go.
And, who knows? Maybe people will, IF you decide to buy it.
-But you've got a lot of thinking to do.
We've shown you a lot of properties that may well work for you.
I think we should get you out of here
-and somewhere where you can think about everything that you've seen.
Finding a property that serves as a comfortable home
and lends itself to a B & B business with all its requirements isn't an easy task.
But Martin and Anne have now seen all the houses
and it's time weigh up the balance.
Well, overnight, Martin and Anne have had plenty of time to reflect on all that we have shown them.
But, of course, now it is decision time.
As you can see, behind me, the market is in full swing.
Plenty of people are selling, but are our buyers buying?
Let's go and ask them.
Well, guys, this is...it.
You've had time to think about everything that we've shown you.
-Has the experience matched up to what you thought it would be?
-It's been really exciting.
I've really enjoyed the couple of days.
Well, it all started with the old surgery, the lovely cream cottage
with that amazing view.
The view from that place was stupendous,
it really was, it was the best.
However, you can't live on a view.
It's good, but we need other things too.
I think it would make a lovely home,
but it's maybe a little bit on the small side to do the B & B.
So then, with some optimism, we went to that extraordinary place on the hill.
The two now knocked into one.
Now, as views go, that really was something special, I thought.
The actual setting was great, in that little valley.
The footpath was there, which was a real plus,
but it was a long way out from anywhere.
It only had two double bedrooms.
The other two were quite small.
So, from our business point of view, it really only had three bedrooms.
And there was quite a lot of work to do inside, but it was SO my style.
I really enjoyed looking around there, really did.
Well, then, we all slept on it and another day dawned.
We took you to...
that extraordinary barn conversion. On the site of a battlefield,
overlooked by a beautiful church. Just over the border into Wales.
-What about that one?
-It was fantastic.
It was... I never dreamed that we could afford some place like that.
It was so beautiful.
Absolutely magnificent inside.
The craftsmanship that had gone into that house...
Somebody really put all their heart and soul into that, and I loved it.
Everything was so beautifully done.
It was quite interesting. I can see that you're very excited about it.
-But it wasn't over just yet, of course.
It was time to take you to the mystery house.
Great place for walkers, on the top of Offa's Dyke.
Yeah, it was a great place, really nice.
I liked it. It had plenty of character. The room that we would have let,
it might have been purpose-designed for a letting room with its separate access,
its boot store and everything. That would have been superb.
Well, I am now dying to know what happens next.
I suspect anybody watching this discussion will not be surprised by your decision.
Put me out of my misery. What are you going to do?
We're going to go all out to get the barn conversion
because I absolutely love it.
It makes me want to cry, thinking about it. It's so gorgeous.
I love that barn conversion, I have to say.
I'm glad you did, as well. Let us know how you get on.
As soon as you're able to buy it and move in, I'll come and stay.
Can I be the first guest?
You certainly can, and it'll be on the house!
-Well, it's been great having you on the show.
-No, thank YOU very much.
-We've thoroughly ourselves.
-Yes, I wish I knew how...
I wish I'd known in advance what fun it was going to be. I would've looked forward to it more!
-Well, don't move again. But, if you do, come back!
The thing I take away from this house search is that,
for many of us, the idea of escaping to the country might seem to be a very expensive process.
But I think the story about Martin and Anne's house search is this -
whatever your budget, no matter how big or small,
as long as you remain focused on what you want, it is entirely possible.
Escaping to the country doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.
I'll see you next time.
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Jules Hudson visits Herefordshire with a couple in search of a character property they can not only live in, but also run as a B&B. They need at least three bedrooms, a separate dining room for their guests, two bathrooms and ideally a garden where they can have their own vegetable plot.