First-time buyer with £4m budget struggles to choose between home

A first-time buyer with a staggering £4 million budget will struggle to choose between a home with a cinema, a 15th century cottage and a sprawling property with its own orangery in a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Britain’s most expensive houses.

Zak Johnson, 34, who runs a sustainable fashion brand, and his girlfriend Charlie have been hunting for a house with the estate agent Sotheby’s International Realty. 

Their search is featured in the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary Britain’s Most Expensive Houses, which airs on December 28. 

The TV show goes inside exclusive estate agent Sotheby’s as they market historic houses, stately homes, millionaire mansions and penthouse pads. 

Zak Johnson, 34, and his girlfriend Charlie (pictured outside Springfield Court in East Sussex), who have been hunting for a house with the estate agent Sotheby's International Realty, will feature in the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary Britain's Most Expensive Houses

Zak Johnson, 34, and his girlfriend Charlie (pictured outside Springfield Court in East Sussex), who have been hunting for a house with the estate agent Sotheby’s International Realty, will feature in the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary Britain’s Most Expensive Houses

A step inside the Georgian mansion, Springfield Court, which is on the market for £2.995 million, reveals a spacious living room which offers views of the sprawling garden outside

A step inside the Georgian mansion, Springfield Court, which is on the market for £2.995 million, reveals a spacious living room which offers views of the sprawling garden outside

The fly-on-the-wall documentary will see the couple struggle to decide which luxury property to chose with their staggering £4 million budget

The fly-on-the-wall documentary will see the couple struggle to decide which luxury property to chose with their staggering £4 million budget

Springfield Court, which is a Grade II listed regency villa near Rye, in East Sussex, comes with its very own wine cellar, library and orangery

Springfield Court, which is a Grade II listed regency villa near Rye, in East Sussex, comes with its very own wine cellar, library and orangery

The property, which offers a piece of history in every room and is now on the market for £2.995 million, also comes with a spiral staircase

The property, which offers a piece of history in every room and is now on the market for £2.995 million, also comes with a spiral staircase 

And it reveals the latest must-have mod cons nowadays including swimming pools, floodlit tennis courts, cinema rooms, wine cellars, orchards, and zipwires.

The couple are joining a mass exodus, which has taken place in the capital, since the start of the coronavirus epidemic.

‘It would be nice to have that extra space,’ said Zak who is an avid kite surfer and scuba diver.

John Fisher, who works in Sotheby’s Surrey office, believes that people are gravitating out of town looking for more space.

‘During the first lockdown you had people isolating in multi-million-pound houses in London which were no bigger than a postage stamp,’ he said.

The first property he shows the couple is a Grade II listed regency villa near Rye, in East Sussex, which is on the market for £2.995 million.

The Georgian mansion, Springfield Court, is set in seven acres and has its own orangery, wine cellar and library, with a bookcase from 11 Downing Street.

‘The staircase is amazing,’ said Charlie, who creates luxury lifestyle content for different brands. ‘I feel like I’m in a modern-day Downton Abbey.

‘The ceilings are a lot higher, so it makes you feel as if it’s a little bit more spacious. I love old properties. There’s a piece of history in every room.’

The next property on the viewing list, a 1920s £6.95 million Chalfont Manor, in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, would bust their budget. 

The couple, whose search will be featured in the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary on December 28, will also visit the £6.95 million Chalfont Manor, in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

The couple, whose search will be featured in the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary on December 28, will also visit the £6.95 million Chalfont Manor, in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

The luxury property comes with a spacious living room that comes with a fireplace and windows that offer views of the swimming pool outside

The luxury property comes with a spacious living room that comes with a fireplace and windows that offer views of the swimming pool outside 

The home in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, also features a lavish dining room that is fitted with chandeliers and wooden beams on the ceiling

The home in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, also features a lavish dining room that is fitted with chandeliers and wooden beams on the ceiling

Viewers will be left in awe as the couple are shown around the large property and are shown its many features, including an open plan kitchen

Viewers will be left in awe as the couple are shown around the large property and are shown its many features, including an open plan kitchen

The home also comes with a landscaped garden by Chelsea winner Kate Gould, a swimming pool and a TV and games room

The home also comes with a landscaped garden by Chelsea winner Kate Gould, a swimming pool and a TV and games room 

The couple will be tempted to go over their budget as they are shown the property which also features a £1 million Steinway cinema room

The couple will be tempted to go over their budget as they are shown the property which also features a £1 million Steinway cinema room

A bedroom upstairs comes fitted with cream carpets, chandeliers, and provides views of the sprawling garden outside

A bedroom upstairs comes fitted with cream carpets, chandeliers, and provides views of the sprawling garden outside

Zak and his partner will be left spoilt for choice as they are shown around the expensive property and have to decide if it is worth going over their budget

Zak and his partner will be left spoilt for choice as they are shown around the expensive property and have to decide if it is worth going over their budget

But Fisher decides to show them anyway. ‘Whilst it is above their budget, there is no doubt it will tempt,’ he said.

‘Very often people can look above their budget. If you dangle a few bits, you never know somebody might nibble.’

With a landscaped garden by Chelsea winner Kate Gould, swimming pool, TV and games room and £1 million Steinway cinema room, the couple is tempted.

‘This is phenomenal,’ added Zak. ‘It’s hard when you go and see something over budget because you’re always going to fall in love with it horrible.’ 

The final property on the list was a £3.5 million period property, dating back to 1450, in the village of Addington, in Surrey.

One of the oldest continuously inhabited homes in Britain, its provenance dates back to the time when Henry VIII went there with Anne Boleyn. 

‘I love the property,’ said Charlie. ‘I love the fact that there’s so much history with it, the entertaining space. If this was north of London, I would definitely say yes.’ 

The final property the couple will be given the chance to visit will be the £3.5 million period property, Addington House, dating back to 1450, in the village of Addington, in Surrey

The final property the couple will be given the chance to visit will be the £3.5 million period property, Addington House, dating back to 1450, in the village of Addington, in Surrey

The property is one of the oldest continuously inhabited homes in Britain and its provenance dates back to the time when Henry VIII went there with Anne Boleyn

The property is one of the oldest continuously inhabited homes in Britain and its provenance dates back to the time when Henry VIII went there with Anne Boleyn

A spacious kitchen in the property, which is on the market for £3.5 million, comes with a central island, a large stove and hanging rustic lights

A spacious kitchen in the property, which is on the market for £3.5 million, comes with a central island, a large stove and hanging rustic lights

A step inside one of the many rooms inside Addington House also reveals a cinema room which can accommodate a number of guests

A step inside one of the many rooms inside Addington House also reveals a cinema room which can accommodate a number of guests  

The couple will be left in awe of the property's history and its rooms that come with enough space to entertain guests

The couple will be left in awe of the property’s history and its rooms that come with enough space to entertain guests

A step outside the expensive home also reveals a large garden that features a swimming pool and comes with a seating area

A step outside the expensive home also reveals a large garden that features a swimming pool and comes with a seating area 

During the show, viewers will learn that Charlie and  Zak are among many city residents who are choosing to move to the countryside

During the show, viewers will learn that Charlie and  Zak are among many city residents who are choosing to move to the countryside

Zak and Charlie are not the only city residents planning to move to the countryside, according to property website Rightmove.

They calculate that the number of city dwellers contacting estate agents to buy a home in a village rose by 126 per cent in June and July alone.

Miles Shipside, of Rightmove, said: ‘The lure of a new lifestyle, one that is quieter and has an abundance of beautiful countryside and more outdoor space, has led to more city dwellers choosing to become rural residents.

‘We saw a shift as early as April in more people living in cities enquiring about moving out of that city, and this trend has continued.’

For those looking to remain in the hustle and bustle of the capital, Highgate's Heathfield House is now on the market for £40 million

For those looking to remain in the hustle and bustle of the capital, Highgate’s Heathfield House is now on the market for £40 million

The expensive property, which is situated in one of London's most exclusive suburbs, comes with a gate at the front

The expensive property, which is situated in one of London’s most exclusive suburbs, comes with a gate at the front 

Heathfield House is topped by a glass dome with a glass lift and also comes with ten bedrooms and seven bathrooms over four floors

Heathfield House is topped by a glass dome with a glass lift and also comes with ten bedrooms and seven bathrooms over four floors

The luxury property, which is on the market for £40million, features a balcony which offers views of the sprawling garden outside

The luxury property, which is on the market for £40million, features a balcony which offers views of the sprawling garden outside

The home also comes with a gym, spa room, steam room, one of the largest inside pools and a tennis court

The home also comes with a gym, spa room, steam room, one of the largest inside pools and a tennis court

The programme also features the £2.35 million home of former Liverpool football club chairman Peter Moore, one of the finest homes on the Wirral.

Hid behind private electric gates, the house has a floodlit tennis court, tree house, zip line, pond and summer house.

And for those who have the budget to remain in the capital as well as have more space, there is always Highgate’s Heathfield House.

On the market for £40 million, it has ten bedrooms and seven bathrooms over four floors, topped by a glass dome with a glass lift.

Not to mention its gym, spa room, steam room, one of the largest inside pools and tennis court.

Britain’s Most Expensive Houses is screened on Channel 4 at 8pm on December 28.

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