Jules Hudson, Steve Brown and Nicki Chapman have been looking back at some of the finest country homes on the BBC’s Greatest Escapes to the Country.
Each week, the hosts revisit some of the best homes which have featured on the show for the past five years, including a 17th century thatched cottage and a 400-year-old listed cottage.
However, when it comes to picking the best country escape, the hosts don’t always agree.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Steve revealed that his ideal place would be somewhere with lots of wildlife.
“It will be nice to have a different variety of wildlife. The environment around me is really important because I enjoy going to nature reserves. I try to make my garden like that so I have lots of meadow flowers, which look very pretty and attract all the pollinators and butterflies.”
For Nicki, however, it’s all about the surrounding environment and meeting new people.
She said: “Everyone’s idea of a country escape is different, so I think about what I’d like and I do want to make friends in the countryside, so I would choose a beautiful home with character and charm, but I’d also look at the surrounding area as well because for me that’s just as important.”
With so many factors contributing to buying a new home, it can be very difficult to find the “perfect” property, which the BBC Two show has shown over the years.
Homebuyers may then have to compromise on certain elements, which is something Nicki feels is a “valid point”.
However, for Steve, home-buying is one area of life he feels we shouldn’t have to “compromise on”.
When asked how flexible you should be when looking for a new property, he said: “Not much at all is the truth. I don’t think you should compromise. I would much rather I show 50 houses and if nothing is right, the buyer says that. It’s not about the show, I’d hate someone to move into a house they don’t like.”
He added: “This is somewhere you’re going to spend your time and live your life. There are lot of things in life that you have to compromise on, but when you’re looking for your dream home I don’t think think it’s something you need to compromise on.”
Like Steve, Jules – who has recently written The Escape to the Country Handbook – believes you should definitely stick to what you want, however, he feels buyers must be open-minded.
“You’re never going to get the perfect property, but I think what you want is something that’s going to get you through the door. It may not have everything on the wish list but it should have most things,” he explained.
“For me the perfect property is the one that makes you want to embrace its imperfections – a bit like a partner. It’s got to be the property that makes you want to have it. It’s just got that one thing.”
So what advice would he give to someone moving to the countryside?
“Be realistic about the budget. It’s quite easy to go online and find things within your budget. I would say to people to knock some money off your budget to allow yourself to make changes,” Jules said.
“Create a scrapbook, raid the magazines and create an idea of what you want, so that when you approach the market online or in life you can be prepared.”
He continued: “The other part that we’re often asked to look for is outbuildings because people want studios or office space. If you only search for properties that have them you will restrict yourself, so it’s good looking within your budget and finding places that you might be able to build on.”