Nicki Chapman is in the costly Cotswolds helping a couple search for a fabulous character country house with an equally fabulous budget of one million pounds. The house buyers are spoilt for choice, as they decide between a Jacobean and Georgian manor house, or a quirky earth-sheltered eco-home.

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Today, I'm at a castle that's been home to 26 successive generations of the same family.0:00:02.000:00:07.56
Mind you, when you have a place like this, who can blame them?0:00:07.560:00:11.52
'In today's show, I'll be helping a couple run away to retire to the country0:00:23.680:00:29.16
'and we've got a big budget, big houses and big "wows".'0:00:29.160:00:33.16
A huge wow...! Oh, my goodness!0:00:33.160:00:37.52
I don't believe it!0:00:37.520:00:40.40
  - 'And our mystery house is a real revelation.'
- Oh, crikey!
0:00:40.400:00:45.92
I'm in the Cotswolds and this is Berkeley Castle,0:00:49.160:00:53.28
home to the Berkeley family that have lived in this magnificent place for 900 years.0:00:53.280:00:59.56
Now, it may seem tranquil today, but if these ancient walls could speak,0:00:59.560:01:04.44
they would whisper tales of a brooding past at odds with the peaceful surrounding countryside.0:01:04.440:01:10.92
And it's truly magnificent.0:01:10.920:01:13.72
Covering 790 square miles and spanning six counties,0:01:13.720:01:18.00
the Cotswolds is the largest of the 40 Areas of Outstanding Beauty0:01:18.000:01:22.40
across England and Wales.0:01:22.400:01:24.44
Its historical towns such as Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden,0:01:24.440:01:29.60
made from the local honey-coloured limestone, read like a Where's Where of the UK's most desirable places.0:01:29.600:01:35.52
Jewel in the crown is Burford which, in 2009, a leading US magazine voted0:01:35.520:01:41.04
as one of the most idyllic places to live in Europe.0:01:41.040:01:45.04
And as one of the least populated areas of England, yet teeming with rich wildlife,0:01:45.040:01:51.20
it's no wonder that so many people dream of finding their own haven in this part of the country.0:01:51.200:01:57.24
There's no way round it. Property in the Cotswolds comes at a price.0:01:57.240:02:01.88
The average detached property here would set you back - hang on to those tweed trousers -0:02:01.880:02:07.72
a massive £181,000 above the national average.0:02:07.720:02:12.84
This is a stunning part of the country with properties to match.0:02:12.840:02:17.84
Just take a look at what's currently on the market.0:02:17.840:02:21.36
If budget is not an issue,0:02:21.360:02:24.00
how about this five-bedroomed, new-build Cotswolds house in Ascott0:02:24.000:02:28.04
on the market for £1.3 million?0:02:28.040:02:30.48
Besides a large family kitchen, there's plenty of space to relax0:02:30.480:02:34.72
in the two comfortable sitting rooms and conservatory,0:02:34.720:02:38.56
or even the summer house, a perfect spot to survey the three-quarters of an acre garden.0:02:38.560:02:44.40
Or there's this deceptively large, four-bedroomed, weatherboard home overlooking Howells Mere Lake.0:02:44.400:02:50.80
Soak up those waterside views from the huge, open-plan living area with its barn-style vaulted ceiling,0:02:50.800:02:57.72
yours for £730,000.0:02:57.720:03:00.44
And £380,000 will get you this three-bedroomed, Cotswolds stone barn conversion in Blockley.0:03:01.440:03:08.72
The exposed stone walls and beams really give off that warm, cottagey feel0:03:08.720:03:13.76
and you've got water on your doorstep with a stream running through the communal gardens.0:03:13.760:03:19.80
I love the timeless appeal and subtle sophistication of the Cotswolds.0:03:19.800:03:25.76
With a varied array of properties on offer,0:03:25.760:03:28.80
I'm delighted to be house-hunting in this area this week. So who's going to be joining me? Let's find out.0:03:28.800:03:35.44
Steve and Meera have been married for 12 years0:03:35.440:03:38.80
and both work for the publishing company Steve founded 20 years ago.0:03:38.800:03:42.68
With the four children they have between them now in their 20s and with retirement on the horizon,0:03:42.680:03:48.72
they are excited about starting out anew in the Cotswolds.0:03:48.720:03:52.56
I'm a bit of a romantic and I can remember being a young kid going on holidays into the country,0:03:52.560:03:58.40
down into Devon and different places,0:03:58.400:04:01.24
and I'm really looking forward to going places like that where you swing the doors open,0:04:01.240:04:07.16
go out into the fresh air, go for fantastic walks.0:04:07.160:04:10.68
I can't wait to get into that kind of environment. That's what I'm looking forward to.0:04:10.680:04:16.00
I can't wait. If I found the place, I'd go tomorrow.0:04:16.000:04:19.56
They're biding their time in their three-bedroomed flat0:04:19.560:04:23.40
and have spent two years scouring the countryside for their dream home, so what are they looking for?0:04:23.400:04:30.12
My dream property has to have lots of character.0:04:30.120:04:33.36
It has to hit you when you look at it and you just go, "Wow, this is something really special!"0:04:33.360:04:39.28
I want it to have a stream,0:04:39.280:04:41.60
I want it to have a pond, although I can build a pond, and beautiful views.0:04:41.600:04:47.08
Four bedrooms, two with en-suites and then a separate family bathroom,0:04:47.080:04:52.16
then it might be quite nice to have an extra little room, a study.0:04:52.160:04:56.56
Steve loves his music and he plays it extremely loudly, so a nice music room to shut him away would be good.0:04:56.560:05:03.44
And there are some rather large companions to squeeze in too.0:05:03.440:05:08.16
This is Denis. He's a beautiful piece of pottery.0:05:08.160:05:11.20
We've got all our stuff that we've collected on our travels in storage,0:05:11.200:05:15.32
so we are desperate to find a lovely new property to get them all out and enjoy them again.0:05:15.320:05:20.84
This is a communal garden. We're looking for a bigger garden, one to three acres,0:05:20.840:05:25.72
so we can have our pond, we can have some animals, chickens, ducks, lambs and maybe even ostriches.0:05:25.720:05:32.36
I have actually agreed to have a dog,0:05:32.360:05:35.04
but he is also talking about sheep and ostriches and pigs,0:05:35.040:05:41.60
so that's a little bit scary, really.0:05:41.600:05:45.72
We love cooking, we love entertaining, but this kitchen really isn't big enough.0:05:45.720:05:51.24
We're looking for a big, open-plan kitchen-breakfast room, comfy sofa,0:05:51.240:05:55.60
walk-in larder, French doors opening on to the garden, people can sit round, drink a glass of wine. Lovely.0:05:55.600:06:02.44
Meera is also keen to get involved in village life.0:06:02.440:06:05.96
I think it would be lovely to move into a village that's still got some of the local shops0:06:05.960:06:11.80
like a butcher, like a post office, like a nice pub.0:06:11.800:06:15.36
So many of the villages we've looked at don't have those amenities any more.0:06:15.360:06:20.20
- I think a village loses some of its...
  - Identity.
0:06:20.200:06:24.64
Identity. So for us, we would love to live close to a village environment,0:06:24.640:06:31.48
so that we can get involved and become part of that community.0:06:31.480:06:35.52
Steve and Meera are cash buyers,0:06:35.520:06:38.20
but bearing in mind the land for ostriches and a perfect village location, how much can they spend?0:06:38.200:06:44.24
We're fortunate. Our budget for the next move is up to a million pounds.0:06:44.240:06:48.40
Steve and Meera are really fired up for this move and it's great to hear0:06:49.960:06:54.00
they're serious about getting involved with the local community they will one day call home.0:06:54.000:06:59.84
But when it comes to the house, I do have some concerns.0:06:59.840:07:04.00
They both want a home with real character and a warm family heart,0:07:04.000:07:08.64
but whether it's out in the sticks or near a village is still up for discussion.0:07:08.640:07:14.16
Will they be able to agree? Let's find out.0:07:14.160:07:17.20
Our buyers may differ on the exact location of their dream property,0:07:17.200:07:21.64
but hopefully, we can offer up something to appeal to them both,0:07:21.640:07:25.68
so we're focusing our search between Chipping Campden in the north0:07:25.680:07:29.72
down to Cirencester in the south.0:07:29.720:07:32.48
We've got three fantastic houses to show them, but before I reveal the price of each,0:07:32.480:07:38.00
I'll ask them to have a guess first.0:07:38.000:07:40.44
Finally, there's our mystery house which is guaranteed to be a real curve ball.0:07:40.440:07:45.84
  - Well, Steve and Meera, welcome to the Cotswolds.
- Thank you.
0:07:45.840:07:49.68
  - I'm really looking forward to the next few days. I hope you are too.
  - Absolutely.
- We're very excited.
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And we've got a very healthy budget, a million pounds to spend.0:07:55.720:07:59.56
  - Yes, aren't we lucky?
  - And cash buyers?
- We are.
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  - Which does make it a lot easier, we hope.
- Yeah.
0:08:02.600:08:05.92
But we are in the Cotswolds, the beautiful Cotswolds, which is expensive,0:08:05.920:08:11.28
so on paper, a million pounds should be able to buy us a castle,0:08:11.280:08:15.32
  - but here, you get rather less for your money. Are you aware of that?
- I think we realise that.
  - Yeah.
0:08:15.320:08:21.40
You've been looking around. How far have you cast this net?0:08:21.400:08:25.40
We're pretty flexible because obviously work isn't an issue now, children aren't an issue now,0:08:25.400:08:31.80
  - so we can go more or less where we want to.
- That's made it a lot harder because we could go anywhere.
0:08:31.800:08:38.12
But I really don't want to move too far from where we are now which is Amersham,0:08:38.120:08:44.32
mainly because we've got a lot of good friends there.0:08:44.320:08:47.84
  - And Steve, how far and remote do you want to go?
  - I'd go really quite rural.
0:08:47.840:08:52.88
I would go... No, I would. I'd go kind of three miles from your nearest neighbour - great.0:08:52.880:08:58.88
There's a bit of a difference here, isn't there? There is a bit of a difference.0:08:58.880:09:04.24
  - I wonder who's going to make the ultimate decision?
- I think we probably both will.
0:09:04.240:09:09.76
But possibly...0:09:10.760:09:12.96
Yeah, we'll see. It'll be a compromise at the end of the day.0:09:13.960:09:17.88
We've got some amazing properties for you to see and the mystery property.0:09:17.880:09:22.96
- Are you ready to get started?
  - Absolutely.
- Come on.
0:09:22.960:09:26.60
'So Steve and Meera have a very healthy budget of one million pounds.0:09:26.600:09:32.32
'Steve wants a beautiful plot for his ostriches to roam in0:09:38.880:09:42.72
'and with Meera asking for a village location not too far away from Buckinghamshire,0:09:42.720:09:48.16
'fingers crossed, we can find something to keep them both happy.0:09:48.160:09:52.20
'Our house search takes us to a very rural spot near King's Stanley,0:09:52.200:09:56.24
'17 miles from Cirencester and a two-hour drive0:09:56.240:09:59.68
'from Meera's loved ones back in Buckinghamshire.0:09:59.680:10:03.44
'Nailsworth would be their nearest market town five miles away.0:10:03.440:10:07.40
'It has independent shops and plush eateries. Many of its properties are built into the lush hillside,0:10:07.400:10:14.20
'as we find with our next property in the open countryside. I think Steve will love this location.'0:10:14.200:10:20.24
Here is your property, made of Cotswold stone.0:10:20.240:10:23.32
  - It was finished in 2007, so it's still very, very new.
- Right.
0:10:23.320:10:28.44
  - You've got a slate roof and the most amazing views.
- Yes.
0:10:28.440:10:32.84
  - All the way around.
  - Absolutely...
- Absolutely stunning.
0:10:32.840:10:36.68
It's actually five acres in total.0:10:36.680:10:39.16
- Steve, you said you wanted a bit of a project.
  - Yeah.
0:10:39.160:10:42.72
  - You wanted to keep some animals.
- There's enough space for ostriches and llamas in there.
0:10:42.720:10:48.24
You could have a whole zoo with all that land! Let's see if the house...0:10:48.240:10:52.28
- Over my dead body!
  - ..is up to your taste.
0:10:52.280:10:55.32
'Although Meera seems a bit scared by Steve's plans for his Noah's Ark,0:10:58.080:11:02.32
'I think the interior of this property will really make an impact on her.'0:11:02.320:11:07.08
  - Come on in.
- Oh, my goodness!
0:11:07.080:11:10.64
Big wow!0:11:11.640:11:14.08
Huge wow!0:11:14.080:11:16.04
This is just incredible.0:11:16.040:11:18.08
You don't see living space like this very often, do you?0:11:18.080:11:21.64
Now, you two wanted flexibility, you wanted lots of options.0:11:21.640:11:26.48
- I think I'm going to cry.
  - Aw!
0:11:26.480:11:29.24
  - You said you didn't mind contemporary.
- I know and I don't. Oh, I've gone all googly!
0:11:29.240:11:36.08
Blimey!0:11:36.080:11:38.20
It's ticking lots of boxes at this stage.0:11:38.200:11:41.48
I don't want to get too excited. Let's walk through and you can really see the views.0:11:41.480:11:47.04
Now, you've probably guessed this is a topsy-turvy, upside-down house.0:11:47.040:11:52.16
- Yeah.
  - Mm-hm.
0:11:52.160:11:54.20
But it works so well and it's been designed like that, so you get the most out of that view.0:11:54.200:12:00.64
  - You can see right across the valley.
- Fantastic.
  - Yeah, it's exceptional.
0:12:00.640:12:04.92
Even washing up would be a joy!0:12:04.920:12:07.40
A nice, big kitchen, you know, granite worktops.0:12:07.400:12:10.60
Obviously, entertaining is so important0:12:10.600:12:14.36
and somebody wanted a sofa,0:12:14.360:12:16.80
so the sofa is in close proximity to the kitchen, so I believe that's going to get a big tick.0:12:16.800:12:22.64
Yes, that's my space while Steve is preparing the dinner on a Saturday night. Perfect.0:12:22.640:12:28.12
'Brilliant. This superb contemporary interior has bowled them over.0:12:28.120:12:32.68
'Let's see if we can keep them smiling.'0:12:32.680:12:35.52
I think this house really benefits from having this little private room to the side.0:12:37.000:12:42.88
Yeah, absolutely. That is such a fabulous space out there.0:12:42.880:12:47.36
But I think if that was all you had, I would have been a bit worried, so I'm really pleased we're in here.0:12:47.360:12:53.60
This is lovely, really beautiful.0:12:53.600:12:56.24
'Just next door, there's a study which would make a great den for Steve to play his music.0:12:56.240:13:01.92
'They seemed utterly wowed by the views and flexible modern layout of this property.0:13:01.920:13:07.48
'Meera's sculptures would certainly look great in here.0:13:07.480:13:11.04
'Let's head downstairs and hope they'll be thrilled by the five bedrooms that lead off the hallway.0:13:11.040:13:17.08
'Two would fit a double bed in nicely, this one with doors leading out to the patio.0:13:17.080:13:22.36
'And the third double is a nice, generous size with a lovely, modern en-suite,0:13:22.360:13:27.40
'but we'll take in those views from this generous fourth bedroom.'0:13:27.400:13:31.72
  - I'd be tempted to put my guests in here because look at that view!
- Stunning views, stunning views.
0:13:31.720:13:38.24
I wish I had a pound for every time we said "amazing, stunning views", but you can't help but be impressed.0:13:38.240:13:44.28
It just hits you every time. Every time you come into another room and you see the view, it just hits you.0:13:44.280:13:50.36
'Across the hallway is a great wet room-style family bathroom with a corner bath.0:13:50.360:13:55.52
'Next door is an elegant master.'0:13:55.520:13:58.24
  - So again, good size for you?
- Lovely. Lovely size.
  - Lovely size.
0:13:58.240:14:02.80
The utility room with the washing machine and all that gubbins is down here?0:14:02.800:14:07.84
It is. Very cleverly, it's out of eyeshot.0:14:07.840:14:10.88
Let's have a look at your wet room and I'll explain a little bit more.0:14:10.880:14:15.40
  - So here's your wet room.
- Yeah.
0:14:17.200:14:20.16
And the utility is just through that door.0:14:20.160:14:23.08
It's a Jack and Jill utility from the family bathroom and yours.0:14:23.080:14:27.20
Laundry can go straight in there and no-one sees it.0:14:27.200:14:30.60
That's perfect. Your clothes are in your bedroom. The bedrooms are all here.0:14:30.600:14:35.64
  - All I do is open the door and throw them in.
- Yeah, and they come back clean by magic...
  - Ironed.
0:14:35.640:14:41.68
..into your underwear drawer. I don't iron his underwear!0:14:41.680:14:46.44
'There may not be much magic in the laundry room, but I'm sure outside will cast a spell on Steve.0:14:46.440:14:53.08
'The five acres of land fall within a conservation area,0:14:53.080:14:56.92
'so no chance of development getting between them and those views over the Malvern and Welsh Hills.'0:14:56.920:15:02.96
The current owners have horses. But these paddocks... Meera, you might not want me to say this.0:15:02.960:15:09.16
But they could be ideal for ostriches. No?0:15:09.160:15:12.48
They could be. They could be.0:15:12.480:15:14.80
You both seem so impressed with the property, but it's time to talk money.0:15:14.800:15:19.84
How much do you think it's on the market for? Who's going to go first? Meera?0:15:19.840:15:25.08
I'm going to say...0:15:25.080:15:27.56
999,000.0:15:27.560:15:30.48
OK. Steve?0:15:30.480:15:33.00
975.0:15:33.000:15:35.84
It's only just gone on the market. It's been about four weeks.0:15:35.840:15:39.96
  - So very early days.
- Yes.
0:15:39.960:15:42.28
The current asking price is...0:15:42.280:15:44.72
..£895,000.0:15:46.360:15:49.36
No! Crikey!0:15:49.360:15:52.36
  - I'm staggered.
- I wish I DID bring my chequebook!
0:15:52.360:15:56.20
So do I if it's that positive! I'm trying to hold back my enthusiasm.0:15:57.160:16:02.28
And with a house like this,0:16:02.280:16:04.32
I think your friends would be happy to make the two-hour journey here to see you,0:16:04.320:16:09.60
rather than you go back to Buckinghamshire.0:16:09.600:16:12.52
- Have another look around the house. I'll catch up with you in a while.
  - Lovely.
- Enjoy!
0:16:12.520:16:17.84
They certainly loved the price tag.0:16:19.400:16:21.84
Way under budget at £895,000,0:16:21.840:16:25.20
this exceptional, modern Cotswold property seems to have them reeling.0:16:25.200:16:29.92
And it's all framed by jaw-dropping views.0:16:42.040:16:45.80
I think the setting is exceptional.0:16:45.800:16:48.88
I can imagine us standing out here on a summer's evening watching the world go by.0:16:48.880:16:53.92
I could see myself living here. The views blew you away. It was exceptional.0:16:53.920:16:58.92
  - Family and friends would love coming here.
- The sculptures would look fantastic here, paintings...
0:16:58.920:17:04.96
Absolutely stunning. Took my breath away, really. Made me go all googly.0:17:04.960:17:09.60
And for us, a space like this is what we like to live in,0:17:09.600:17:14.08
so from that point of view, just couldn't be better.0:17:14.080:17:17.60
  - Have you two seen enough?
- I think we have.
  - Yes, I think so.
0:17:17.600:17:21.56
- You've still got that grin on your face.
  - I have indeed.
- I'm going to have to drag you away now.
0:17:21.560:17:27.60
'With its idyllic countryside, honey-coloured stone and rich housing stock,0:17:33.280:17:38.60
'the Cotswolds is a place people want to move to and never leave.0:17:38.600:17:43.36
'Nowhere is there a more compelling example than Berkeley Castle, home to the Berkeley family since 1154.0:17:43.360:17:50.20
'Built under orders from Henry II, it has a unique claim to fame0:17:50.200:17:54.04
'as the oldest continuously occupied castle by the same family in Britain.0:17:54.040:17:59.88
'The castle has borne witness to some startling events over the past centuries0:17:59.880:18:04.92
'and I'm meeting Charles Berkeley to learn more about the place he calls home.'0:18:04.920:18:09.96
  - Were you brought up here as a child?
- We were.
0:18:09.960:18:13.48
My brother and I, only 11 months between us, we spent our winter months here at the castle.0:18:13.480:18:19.32
It was a magical place.0:18:19.320:18:21.32
We lived in the keep which was the oldest part.0:18:21.320:18:25.20
That was exciting - really old wooden floors and stone walls.0:18:25.200:18:29.96
It was a paradise to grow up in.0:18:29.960:18:32.28
There are so many stories of visitors seeing two boys up on the roof.0:18:32.280:18:36.84
We respected the castle, but it was our playground. We were extremely lucky.0:18:36.840:18:41.64
  - I'm used to showing people houses, but I'd love you to give me a tour of your house.
- Let's go, yeah.
0:18:41.640:18:47.68
'Although noblemen walked through these hallways en route to sign the Magna Carta,0:18:50.920:18:55.88
'Elizabeth I slept in its chambers0:18:55.880:18:58.36
'and Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream was first performed here,0:18:58.360:19:03.40
'it is a surprisingly homely place, although Berkeley does lay claim to one particularly dark tale.'0:19:03.400:19:09.44
Charles, tell me a bit more about this story, the legend of the King.0:19:09.440:19:13.96
Well, Nicki, Edward II was King of England in the 14th century.0:19:13.960:19:19.12
And he was brought here as a prisoner in 1326.0:19:19.120:19:25.00
On the orders of his wife, he was kept here for six months0:19:25.000:19:29.12
and imprisoned in this cell here and they murdered him.0:19:29.120:19:33.16
  - This is where he was murdered?
- This is the site where he was... Yeah.
0:19:33.160:19:37.92
'After murder and mystery, a trip on to the roof is a breath of fresh air0:19:37.920:19:43.56
'and a chance to take in the wonderful panoramic views,0:19:43.560:19:47.40
'but with a £5.5 million appeal for repairs, including the roof,0:19:47.400:19:51.80
'maintaining Berkeley involves considerable upkeep, so does Charles feel at home in these castle walls?'0:19:51.800:19:58.04
It is very much a castle with its turrets and its towers0:19:58.040:20:02.60
and its imposing look,0:20:02.600:20:04.84
but it is still a wonderful family home and long may that continue.0:20:04.840:20:10.20
'Exploring Berkeley has given me a fascinating insight into 900 years of British history0:20:10.200:20:15.96
'and it's extraordinary how this home is still an ongoing concern0:20:15.960:20:20.00
'for the same family some 25 generations on.0:20:20.000:20:23.72
'As the day draws to a close over the Cotswolds,0:20:25.520:20:29.08
'it marks the end of the first day of our property search.0:20:29.080:20:33.12
'Meera and Steve are desperate to find their dream country home to retire to in the Cotswolds.0:20:35.400:20:42.08
'With their big £1 million budget, Steve wants land for ostriches.0:20:42.080:20:46.32
'They've seen one property, but coming up, it looks like Meera is wearing the trousers.'0:20:46.320:20:51.64
- Steve cooking, me sitting, glass of wine.
  - Yeah.
- Works well.
0:20:51.640:20:56.52
In my handbag is the chequebook.0:20:56.520:20:59.92
'But can our mystery house bring them back down to Earth?'0:20:59.920:21:04.12
Yesterday went rather well.0:21:04.120:21:06.56
With stunning scenery and rural seclusion, the ball was firmly in Steve's court.0:21:06.560:21:12.40
But of course, this move is about Meera too, so today, we're going to address the balance.0:21:12.400:21:18.04
We're heading for the village of Pebworth just six miles from Chipping Campden0:21:18.040:21:23.28
and an hour and three-quarters away for visitors to drive from Buckinghamshire.0:21:23.280:21:28.32
I think they'll make the trip because although Pebworth lies just outside the Cotswolds border,0:21:28.320:21:34.20
it still benefits from that beautiful scenery.0:21:34.200:21:37.92
I think Meera will love this quiet village which has a number of period properties dotted about.0:21:37.920:21:43.96
  - 'But could she live here?'
- Oh, my goodness!
  - Wow.
0:21:43.960:21:47.96
- That whole thing?
  - That whole thing.
- I've gone all goosepimply!
  - Have you?
0:21:47.960:21:52.60
  - What do you think, Steve?
  - It's very big, that's for sure.
0:21:52.600:21:57.72
Absolutely huge.0:21:57.720:22:00.04
The house is made up of three parts.0:22:00.040:22:02.80
- The original house is Jacobean.
  - Really?
- At the back of the property.
0:22:02.800:22:06.84
Wow.0:22:06.840:22:08.64
- This side of the house is Georgian.
  - Yeah.
- And just because they decided it needed to be a little bigger,
0:22:08.640:22:15.32
  - that's the Victorian extension.
  - Wow.
- Amazing.
0:22:15.320:22:19.76
  - I think it's time to go in.
  - Let's go.
0:22:19.760:22:22.92
'This huge country house in the middle of the village certainly seems to have blown Meera away,0:22:22.920:22:29.64
'as it did Sir Ben Kingsley who restored it from flats.0:22:29.640:22:33.84
'Leading off the entrance hall is the first of two sitting rooms.'0:22:33.840:22:37.72
This is absolutely stunning. And I've gone goosepimply again!0:22:38.880:22:43.72
- This is the Victorian side.
  - Yes.
- This house is Grade 2 listed.
0:22:44.680:22:49.28
You have to bear that in mind for anything you want to do to it.0:22:49.280:22:54.24
The current owners decided they wanted to knock through to the kitchen.0:22:54.240:22:59.84
I think it works really well.0:22:59.840:23:02.36
- Gorgeous!
  - Does that make you happy?
- A gorgeous range. Steve cooking, me sitting, glass of wine.
0:23:06.240:23:12.28
  - Yeah.
- Works well.
0:23:12.280:23:14.64
  - There's no sofa in here. You do have a good-sized table.
- You've got to have somewhere to sit.
0:23:14.640:23:21.12
- It has a good vibe about it.
  - Thumbs up?
- Definitely.
0:23:21.120:23:25.32
- I'd like to see more.
  - There is so much more to show you. Follow me.
0:23:25.320:23:30.52
'The different architectural styles seamlessly flow into one another.0:23:30.520:23:35.16
'And our next room is certainly fit for a Jacobean banquet.' If one was going to have a dinner party,0:23:35.160:23:41.88
  - how would this work as a dining room?
- I'm almost...lost for words, which doesn't often happen.
0:23:41.880:23:48.80
- The size of that fireplace!
  - Yeah.
- I mean, it's just incredible.
0:23:48.800:23:54.68
You've got original leaded windows. The surrounds have been repaired.0:23:54.680:23:59.52
Absolutely beautiful.0:23:59.520:24:02.52
  - Can you feel the history?
  - It just oozes with it.
0:24:02.520:24:06.36
It comes out of every bit of it.0:24:06.360:24:09.00
  - This is just...
- You're very animated!
  - I know!
- In a village!
0:24:09.000:24:14.24
I'm trying to kick myself, hold myself back.0:24:14.240:24:18.28
- Where's the driveway?
  - Where will the ostriches go?
- Exactly.
0:24:18.280:24:23.40
'Right, on we go. As we step out of the 1600s and move through to the Georgian part,0:24:23.400:24:29.52
'we pass a wine cellar, a must for those dinner parties. And what better room to retire to than here?'0:24:29.520:24:36.92
- A beautiful Georgian room, presumably.
  - It is.
- Lovely.
  - You've got sash windows, shutters.
0:24:36.920:24:44.08
And a great view of the church.0:24:44.080:24:47.04
A working fire as well. Wonderful.0:24:47.040:24:49.68
- And dual aspect. You can go through the patio doors.
  - They're open?
- Yep.
0:24:49.680:24:54.88
Plenty of light.0:24:54.880:24:57.04
'And there's light streaming in to the study off the sitting room.0:24:57.040:25:01.28
'Also tucked away on this floor is a cloakroom, WC and utility room.0:25:01.280:25:05.76
'Meera has fallen in love with what she's seen so far0:25:05.760:25:09.80
'and Steve has been lapping up the historic wow factor.0:25:09.800:25:14.24
'I don't think upstairs will disappoint.'0:25:14.240:25:18.08
So this house has five bedrooms and this is the master.0:25:18.080:25:22.64
- This is lovely.
  - That is gorgeous!
- It's so bright as well.
0:25:22.640:25:26.64
- Look at the view, Steve!
  - Everything in this house is pretty large.
0:25:26.640:25:31.28
- And I know...
  - Oh, my goodness!
- ..you wanted an ensuite,
0:25:31.280:25:35.72
  - so... Just go and have a little look.
- OK.
0:25:35.720:25:40.16
Is it going to be mega?0:25:40.160:25:42.44
- Oh, my goodness!
  - Wow!
0:25:43.440:25:46.20
This is just about big enough(!)0:25:46.200:25:49.04
- It is enormous.
  - Beautiful.
- Absolutely enormous.
0:25:49.040:25:52.64
'All the rooms lead off this sprawling landing. At the end of the hallway is the family bathroom.0:25:52.640:25:59.16
'You've guessed it - huge! With a luxurious roll-top bath.0:25:59.160:26:03.12
'The second bedroom is currently used as a dressing room0:26:03.120:26:07.16
'and is certainly big enough for Meera's sofa.0:26:07.160:26:10.68
'Opposite are two bedrooms. Perfect for guests. Back down the hall is another potential bedroom,0:26:10.680:26:16.72
'which could make a great den for Steve's loud music.0:26:16.720:26:20.60
'Upstairs again is a real treat for their overnighting guests.0:26:20.600:26:24.64
'It's a self-contained flat complete with sitting room and architectural history on show.'0:26:24.640:26:32.16
- Gosh. Look at this.
  - Incredible.
  - The original wattle and daub.
0:26:32.160:26:36.52
All the walls were done like them. When they restored the house,0:26:36.520:26:40.92
about 25 years ago, it looked so amazing they made it a feature.0:26:40.920:26:46.16
'There's also a kitchenette and their guests won't believe their luck0:26:46.160:26:51.60
'in the minimal splendour of this bathroom. The space just keeps on going outside.0:26:51.600:26:58.40
'Across the driveway is a double garage with two stables.0:26:58.400:27:02.92
'Behind that is a small pond for Steve and a superb annexe,0:27:02.920:27:06.88
'currently fitted out with a large gym and games room. A fantastic space to have fun in.0:27:06.880:27:14.60
'So there's acres of house and the landscape garden is a surprisingly quiet retreat,0:27:14.600:27:20.72
'given it's right in the middle of the village. But the ostriches might have to be chickens.0:27:20.720:27:26.96
'Is it a compromise worth making for such a sumptuous property?0:27:26.960:27:31.40
'Time to catch our breath and consider the price.'0:27:31.400:27:35.24
So I think I've shown you everything. How much do you think the current asking price is?0:27:35.240:27:41.28
I've got to say... over our budget,0:27:42.240:27:46.00
but I'd go for 1.1.0:27:46.000:27:48.04
  - And Meera?
- I'm going to go slightly under Steve and say
0:27:48.040:27:53.72
£50,000 under what Steve said.0:27:53.720:27:56.72
  - So just over a million?
- Just over a million.
0:27:56.720:28:00.56
This house is currently on the market...0:28:01.520:28:05.36
Aaaargh!0:28:06.320:28:07.76
  - ..for £875,000.
- No!
0:28:08.720:28:11.72
Holy...sugar!0:28:13.000:28:15.04
In my handbag is the chequebook.0:28:18.400:28:21.64
  - That is amazing.
- That is amazing!
0:28:22.600:28:26.24
  - Now if this house was probably three or four miles in that direction...
- Yes.
0:28:26.240:28:33.28
..you would be looking at substantially more0:28:33.280:28:37.32
and we're not talking £50,000 or £100,000 more.0:28:37.320:28:41.36
But we are just outside the boundaries of the Cotswolds, but it is all around you.0:28:41.360:28:47.60
You can see the Cotswolds from your bedroom window.0:28:47.600:28:51.16
  - Go and enjoy, take your time.
  - Thank you.
0:28:51.160:28:54.64
Again under budget at £875,000,0:28:54.640:28:58.08
this property has clearly worked its magic on Meera.0:28:58.080:29:02.12
Although Steve will have to have a serious rethink on the land,0:29:02.120:29:06.16
they've been seduced by its three reception rooms and their character,0:29:06.160:29:10.80
its historical features spanning some 500 years and the five bedrooms with that enormous ensuite.0:29:10.800:29:17.48
The village location should please Meera and it's still an easy drive back to Buckinghamshire.0:29:17.480:29:24.08
I knew as soon as I looked at the outside that I could live here.0:29:24.080:29:27.88
I fell in love with it on the spot.0:29:27.880:29:30.36
When I came inside, it was breathtaking.0:29:30.360:29:34.92
The thing about it is it's got such a...warm, homely feel to it.0:29:34.920:29:41.36
I think what happens coming into a house like this, you start off at zero degrees0:29:42.120:29:49.04
and in the hall you're at 15 degrees, by the kitchen it's 50.0:29:49.040:29:53.08
By the time I got to the dining room I was boiling. It's very special.0:29:53.080:29:57.16
There cannot be many like this.0:29:57.160:30:00.44
Are you both ready?0:30:00.440:30:02.88
I'm as excited as you both are! Come on, we've got to press on.0:30:04.800:30:09.44
Meera and Steve are certainly not the only ones to have succumbed to the idyllic charm of the Cotswolds.0:30:14.240:30:20.68
Around 280,000 visitors a year flock to its beautiful honey-coloured villages,0:30:20.680:30:26.40
including Long Compton with its rich history.0:30:26.400:30:29.76
We arranged for them to meet local historian Jan Treadaway0:30:29.760:30:34.20
to find out more about the village's mysterious tales from the past. First stop, the lych gate.0:30:34.200:30:40.52
- What exactly is a lych gate?
  - Lych is an Old English word. It means body or corpse.
- Oh, right.
0:30:40.520:30:47.36
And in the Middle Ages, the wool merchants were very powerful around here.0:30:47.360:30:53.52
There was a law passed that stated that every corpse had to be buried in a woollen shroud,0:30:53.520:30:59.56
- which was quite expensive.
  - Nice extra income!
- Absolutely.
0:30:59.560:31:04.00
And they had the right to stop a coffin at the church gate0:31:04.000:31:08.44
- and open it and inspect to see if the body was dressed...
  - Really?
- ..in a woollen shroud.
0:31:08.440:31:14.20
The church that stands here today is late Norman, but there was one as far back as the 5th century.0:31:14.200:31:20.36
It's said that when St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, was sent here in the 6th century,0:31:20.360:31:26.80
while preaching in the church yard he raised a man from the dead.0:31:26.800:31:31.36
There are also numerous burial grounds and ancient sites steeped in legend around here,0:31:31.360:31:38.20
including the rollright stones, thought to be older than Stonehenge and linked to witchcraft.0:31:38.200:31:45.04
The story goes that an invading king was tricked by a witch who told him, "If Long Compton you shall see,0:31:45.040:31:51.08
"King of England you shall be."0:31:51.080:31:53.72
When his view was obscured by a hill, she turned him to stone.0:31:53.720:31:58.12
These are supposed to be the king's men. Over there is the king's stone, which was the king turned to stone.0:31:58.120:32:04.72
Well, these pretty villages shouldn't be taken at face value.0:32:04.720:32:09.16
Their rich folklore is a defining feature of the ancient Cotswold landscape.0:32:09.160:32:14.56
Every now and then we find a property that just screams out to be the mystery house.0:32:17.040:32:24.04
And this is one of those.0:32:24.040:32:26.56
Steve and Meera have been wonderfully open-minded0:32:26.560:32:31.00
but this house is going to certainly test them.0:32:31.000:32:34.96
All will be revealed soon enough.0:32:34.960:32:37.96
We're heading to the village of Fulbrook, half an hour's drive from Chipping Campden0:32:37.960:32:43.60
and just an hour and a quarter from Buckinghamshire.0:32:43.600:32:47.64
The nearest amenities are in the pretty town of Barford, a mile away.0:32:47.640:32:52.88
Its lively streets are lined with magnificent stone frontages0:32:52.880:32:56.64
and there's a raft of pubs and local shops to pick from,0:32:56.640:33:01.08
but I think our mystery house will require me to do some hand-holding.0:33:01.080:33:06.40
I'm bringing you to the mystery house. I don't think you'll be too disappointed with the surprise.0:33:06.400:33:13.24
On three. One, two, three.0:33:13.240:33:17.68
Oh, crikey!0:33:19.200:33:22.04
- It's built into the hillside.
  - It's an earth-sheltered home.
0:33:22.040:33:26.84
  - Were you expecting this, you two?
- Not in a million years!
  - No.
0:33:26.840:33:32.72
I know you both love your first impressions.0:33:32.720:33:36.40
  - How does this rate?
- Funky, awesome,
0:33:36.400:33:41.00
amazing. Indescribable, really?0:33:41.000:33:43.84
  - It is. It's just completely different.
- A proper earth-sheltered home, made of Cotswold stone.
0:33:43.840:33:49.88
So it's in keeping. A double garage there.0:33:49.880:33:53.64
You've got a cedar lip there. It's like an umbrella above the property,0:33:53.640:33:59.28
like a huge, huge umbrella to insulate it and keep out water.0:33:59.280:34:03.80
  - So first time for any of us in an earth-sheltered home. Ready for the grand tour?
- Definitely.
0:34:03.800:34:09.72
I think we'll enjoy it.0:34:09.720:34:11.76
'Our mystery earth shelter may be an unexpected Cotswolds find,0:34:11.760:34:15.96
'but they've been around for thousands of years. It's a fantastic way to combine great architecture0:34:15.960:34:22.44
'with making homes more energy efficient. So let's explore.'0:34:22.440:34:27.96
It's very deceiving from outside.0:34:27.960:34:30.60
- It really is.
  - Yeah.
- How clever, the way they've got all these different levels in.
0:34:30.600:34:36.40
- I can't believe the space is so... light.
  - Being south-facing, you get the warmth and the light.
0:34:36.400:34:42.44
Covered in soil, it's insulated. The windows and doors are air-locked to keep that heat in.0:34:42.440:34:48.44
'In the spacious utility room is some interesting eco-kit.0:34:48.440:34:52.80
'This ground source heat pump absorbs heat from deep underground and warms the house throughout.0:34:52.800:34:59.04
'The open-plan area is cleverly split into different zones, like the large sitting room.0:34:59.040:35:05.08
'We'll explore the central hub.'0:35:05.080:35:08.00
This house does benefit from being open-plan. Here's your dining area.0:35:08.000:35:12.84
- And that leads beautifully on to the kitchen. It's really well-fitted.
  - Yeah.
- Got everything.
0:35:12.840:35:20.28
You mentioned this property being on different levels.0:35:20.280:35:24.32
Before I take you upstairs, I'll show you what's down here.0:35:24.320:35:28.92
So here's the second reception room. There is potential to convert this to another bedroom0:35:31.320:35:37.76
if you wanted a four-bedroom house and not a three.0:35:37.760:35:42.48
  - Across the hallway, you've got a bathroom and a bedroom.
  - It is completely different.
0:35:42.480:35:47.96
For a surprise house, it couldn't be any more of a surprise.0:35:47.960:35:52.96
'I'm not sure they're completely falling in love with this property, but they're impressed by the design,0:35:52.960:35:59.84
'flexible layout and great energy-saving features.0:35:59.840:36:04.04
'Upstairs includes the third of four potential bedrooms, opposite which is a family bathroom0:36:04.040:36:10.08
'with a shower cubicle. Time now to check out the main bedroom.'0:36:10.080:36:14.48
  - This is the master.
- Good natural light.
0:36:14.480:36:18.32
- And a good-sized room.
  - Yes. It is surprising, given where we are in the house,
0:36:18.320:36:25.56
how much light comes through. It is surprising.0:36:25.560:36:29.20
  - It benefits from an ensuite, a large, generous ensuite.
- Right.
0:36:29.200:36:33.24
  - Which was on the hit list.
- Yes, definitely.
0:36:33.240:36:36.72
This house does have its benefits. It's low maintenance, low heating bills.0:36:36.720:36:42.56
  - And there are just the two of you.
  - Mm.
0:36:42.560:36:44.92
'Mm, indeed. Well, there's one big surprise to come that might make them consider taking the plunge.'0:36:44.920:36:52.52
Now...0:36:52.520:36:54.44
  - ..take a look at this.
- I don't believe it!
0:36:54.440:36:59.20
- Crikey! That would keep us fit.
  - It would do that.
0:36:59.200:37:03.60
That was designed for the owner, so they could keep fit.0:37:03.600:37:07.64
- Yeah.
  - Yeah.
- It's what you'd call a bath!
0:37:07.640:37:11.48
I wouldn't want to clean it! It's got a contra flow system like a water treadmill.0:37:11.480:37:17.32
When you turn it on, you literally swim against the current.0:37:17.320:37:20.88
'With the house covered, and armed with those brollies, we're going back above ground0:37:20.880:37:26.32
'to stand on the roof and admire the surprisingly large garden.'0:37:26.320:37:30.84
  - It's impressive, isn't it?
  - It is. It's very different.
0:37:30.840:37:35.96
- Without wanting to keep you out here any longer...
  - This is difficult!
- It is, but it's the bit I like.
0:37:35.960:37:42.20
- It's the bit I dread!
  - How much do you think it's on the market for?
0:37:42.200:37:47.64
I'm going to say...0:37:47.640:37:50.64
£980,000.0:37:50.640:37:52.56
I'll go... slightly less than that.0:37:52.560:37:56.00
I'll go...935.0:37:56.000:37:58.96
The current asking price - £850,000.0:37:58.960:38:03.88
  - 850?
- Yeah.
0:38:03.880:38:05.80
You're not going to get a house like this in a location like this. It's a one-off.0:38:05.800:38:11.08
For the right couple or the right person, it's a tremendous buy.0:38:11.080:38:15.72
The big question is... is that you two?0:38:15.720:38:19.72
  - You're not going to let me know, are you?!
- No, we're not.
0:38:19.720:38:23.76
Your lips are sealed. Why don't you go back inside where it's toasty,0:38:23.760:38:28.60
have another look around, have a think about it? I'll see you later.0:38:28.600:38:33.40
'Our cutting-edge Cotswolds stone earth shelter is under budget at £850,0000:38:33.400:38:40.24
'and it's a real one-off, featuring large flexible living areas,0:38:40.240:38:45.08
'an impressive insulating roof which doubles up as the garden,0:38:45.080:38:49.12
'four potential bedrooms with an impressive master ensuite0:38:49.120:38:53.16
'and, critically for Meera, it's just an hour to Buckinghamshire,0:38:53.160:38:57.20
'so catching up with family and friends couldn't be easier.'0:38:57.200:39:01.32
The big open-plan area down there would be fantastic for a party.0:39:01.320:39:05.40
And you wouldn't even know you're almost underground.0:39:05.400:39:09.04
When Nicki brought us round that corner and we opened our eyes,0:39:09.040:39:13.04
I would never have imagined that this was what I'd see. Phenomenal.0:39:13.040:39:18.36
Obviously it's low maintenance, the heating bill is very low.0:39:18.360:39:22.80
It's very secure. As you get older, you could see yourself moving here.0:39:22.800:39:28.40
But it's a bit too early for us. At the moment, I want big grounds.0:39:28.400:39:33.60
Sorry to bring you back out!0:39:33.600:39:36.12
  - That house certainly makes a statement.
- It certainly does.
0:39:36.120:39:40.96
  - So unique, but you guys have got some thinking to do.
- We certainly have!
0:39:40.960:39:47.00
'Steve and Meera have approached this house search with gusto, but now it's time for a quiet think.'0:39:54.080:40:01.52
It's decision time for Steve and Meera.0:40:01.520:40:05.56
At the beginning of the week, this couple couldn't decide where they both wanted to live.0:40:05.560:40:11.68
Let's hope they've found common ground.0:40:11.680:40:15.04
  - Well, you've had some thinking to do, haven't you?
- Just a little.
  - Certainly have.
0:40:17.280:40:22.84
  - Shall we start with the first property?
- The vista was superb.
0:40:22.840:40:27.48
And it really reminded you of how wonderful the English countryside is.0:40:27.480:40:33.20
As we approached the house, it was new, then when you opened the door and saw the internal layout,0:40:33.200:40:39.96
it had to be one of the big wow factors of the week.0:40:39.960:40:43.56
It was phenomenal. It took my breath away really,0:40:43.560:40:48.48
but the longer I spent there, I wasn't sure that we could live within that space,0:40:48.480:40:54.12
even with the additional rooms on that upper level.0:40:54.120:40:59.08
The main bulk of the house was that one open-plan area.0:40:59.080:41:03.12
I just felt we needed a little bit more space or additional rooms.0:41:03.120:41:08.00
Both of you want to immerse yourself in country life. Meera, it's important you're near a village.0:41:08.000:41:14.72
So we found a property right in the middle of a village.0:41:14.720:41:19.44
As soon as I looked at the outside, I loved it.0:41:19.440:41:23.24
And then when we opened the door, it just blew me away. The more we walked round, I could see us there.0:41:23.240:41:30.12
The grounds were lovely, the annexe is another dimension.0:41:30.120:41:34.56
And there was a further piece of land that I'd love to turn into a natural part of the garden0:41:34.560:41:41.20
and have a small pond there et cetera. It had a lot going for it.0:41:41.200:41:46.80
Our mystery house, is always different. The earth shelter. I haven't seen anything like it.0:41:46.800:41:54.40
  - I don't think you two had either.
  - No.
- And at no point inside
0:41:54.400:41:58.64
did you ever feel you were underground. So much natural light.0:41:58.640:42:03.24
All those different levels. I thought it was fabulous.0:42:03.240:42:08.04
It was great to go and see. We'd seen others like that, but never been inside one.0:42:08.040:42:14.12
- Nice to see.
  - Wonderful to see. I'm really pleased you showed it.
- Great.
0:42:14.120:42:19.16
Well, you've seen these properties.0:42:19.160:42:21.80
Where do we go from here? I'm so eager to find out!0:42:21.800:42:25.96
Well, I think tomorrow we are going to go back to Pebworth,0:42:25.960:42:31.04
- have a good look round the village and who knows?
  - See where we go.
0:42:31.040:42:36.40
Well, that is great news. It's been a wonderful few days.0:42:36.400:42:40.44
  - All the best. And if you do have any good news, let us know.
  - We certainly will.
0:42:40.440:42:46.08
I've really enjoyed this week.0:42:49.680:42:52.68
It was always going to be a challenge finding the right property and location for Steve and Meera,0:42:52.680:42:59.12
but they remained open-minded and saw the merits in each of the properties we showed them.0:42:59.120:43:05.92
I so hope they're a step closer to making this all-important move0:43:05.920:43:10.52
and immersing themselves in country life.0:43:10.520:43:14.32
If you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England0:43:14.320:43:20.40
and need our help, please apply online:0:43:20.400:43:25.44
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Email subtitling@bbc.co.uk0:43:42.000:43:44.64