I have lived in London all my life, as has my partner. Before Covid hit we would have never thought about leaving, but this last year our thoughts have sometimes wandered to the countryside. God willing we will never have a year like this again, but now the seed has been planted I can't help but spend my time scrolling through Zoopla & Rightmove; clicking on house floorplans, taking down imaginary walls, wondering if it would be big enough to have friends over, and for all intents and purposes wasting a lot of my time. This and playing the lottery have become two hard and fast habits I am hoping to break.

You know that saying, "Procrastination Loves Company"? No? Well it does, so here are my top picks for places in the UK under £250k.


1) Penzance, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, £245K

When I said escape from London, I wasn't messing around. The train from London takes around five and a half hours. I am a big fan of trains, so this for me is no bad thing. I am also a fan of stable doors and courtyards so this place ticking a lot of boxes.

2) Cornwall, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, £250K

I have quite a crush on the village that this next place is in, Stoke Climsland, it has got some really lovely looking houses. This being one of them, nice whitewashed front, walled garden and a summer house. Things you could only dream of when you're tucked away in your flat in London.

3) Norfolk, 3 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £250K

I've got to be honest, what did it for me here is the half-moon window. I agree I should never be allowed to buy a house. I'll be looking and some nice stone flooring while the house will give way around me. Anyway, this place has a lot more to recommend itself - not just the window. I think the kitchen is charming & from what I can see you get a very generous garden, with a gate! A GATE!


4) Norfolk, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £250K

So from the outside, this place looks wee, but once you're through that door you are greeted with some hugely pleasing rooms. You have a dining room and a sitting room & the sitting room has a wood burner. Get your coat, we're heading to Norfolk!

5) Norfolk, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £245K

I don't want to sound like I am looking for gratitude, but I feel that my benevolence here needs to be noted. This place is a smash hit. This courtyard has really made me pine for al fresco dinners with friends, but I also adore the sitting room and the front garden. It is in the middle of Hingham known in the 19th century as 'Little London', I am not sure if that still is the case but from the looks of it Hingham has much to recommend itself!

6) Coventry, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £235K

A picture is worth a thousand words, well the words associated with this one would be - 'adorable, perfect, ideal'. It is as picturesque as they come. The inside could do with a little bit of an update, but I think there is a lot of potential.

7) Hay On Wye, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £225K

I am sorry, I think the word charming has been overused. But come on, this is bloody charming. The photographs on the site are good, but to get a bit more character click here. All in all, the more I look, the more I like it. Probably the Tat favourite.

8) Wales, 3 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom & 1 Mill

So there is a lot of bang for your buck with this place, not only three bedrooms, dining room and a snug - you also have a mill next door, which as the estate agents put it, 'is screaming to be converted'.

9) Outside Middlesborough, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom

I have spent quite some time on the British coast of late and its been a revelation. Sun, sea and pebbles - its the new riviera. Anyway, this place has two great size bedrooms and is a literal stone's throw from the North Sea.

10) Lancashire, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £235K

This is not around the corner, well, not from London. In fact a 4.5hr drive. But looking for that escape, well this guy has got escape written all over it. Although you may want to change some things when you get there, the current owners have done a pretty good job.

11) Fife, 2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

This place, small and perfectly formed, no garden but who needs one when you have the exquisite Scottish countryside around you. Both the kitchen and the sitting room have wonderful big windows so you can really take advantage of that famous Scottish sunshine.

12) Canterbury, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £250

This lovely little terrace house has already been modernised and for the most part is ready for you to move in. What particularly piqued my interest was the garden. You have a patio which is perfectly nice, but through the gate, you enter your own secret garden which is a haven for wildlife and leads you to the village green & allotments. Perfect for young families and budding explorers!

13) Scotland (Fife), 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £225K

For me this place is ticking a lot of boxes, salmon pink houses are ace, ditto for thatched roofs. This offers an excellent escape from London (any city really) but you are still close to the hustle and bustle of a well known town, in this case, St Andrews. If you're into golf and student bars this could be the place for you.



14) Scotland, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £235K

Anyone else sick of their local park? I love Hyde Park like a dear friend, but I think we need a break from one another. Suddenly the charm of the children on their scooters is gone and don't get me started on the cyclists. So this place would offer the respite I need from the park, and probably visa-versa. Here you have mountains, streams and walks that would keep you going for days. Also, you have a pub not more than a 3-minute drive, this has been something I have checked with most places, I don't have kids so it goes - pubs, train stations, shops.

15) Dorset (Portland), 4 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, £250K

Do not adjust your screens, what you are seeing is correct - 4 bedrooms for £250K. These bedrooms as far as I can see are not made for mice. They are reasonable sizes split across two floors. Also having done a little Google Mapping of the area, Portland has some pretty epic scenery and you are only a few minutes from the beach. One last thing, Portland has a fish and chip shop called 'Cod Fathers', need I say more?


BIG TICKET ITEMS


My habit of searching for houses and playing the lottery are intertwined. I play the lottery and then for a few hours after I take a huge amount of joy in allocating the imaginary winnings to friends and loved-ones, and wondering what I would do with the rest. For myself, I usually settle on owning an estate with lots of outhouses that you can give to family, ending up with a sort of commune (with only mildly culty undertones). Here are five houses I have come across when searching for the Gold Base, sorry I mean commune.


1) Gloucestershire, 7 Bedrooms, 4 Cottages, £1.9 Million


'An impressive Grade I Listed Castle, which although uninhabitable adjoins a charming 7 bedroom house', it also has four cottages on its grounds. Not too shabby at all.



2) Oxfordshire, 8 Bedrooms, 6 Bathrooms, 4 Reception Rooms, £2.8 million.


Someone once told me I was naff for liking Georgian houses, what a dweeb, they are excellent. I love the facade to this place, I could see myself being very happy here.


3) Hereford, 7 Bedrooms, 4 Reception Rooms, £3.75 million.


So the building itself I am not completely sold on, but the rooms inside - yes please. The hallway & dining room in particular - I adore windows that go down to the ground - making themselves door/windows. There's also a huge pool.

4) Wiltshire, 9 Bedrooms, 6 Bathrooms, £4 Million.


Whether you're interested or not, I beseech you to look at this house. The interiors are certainly worth a gawp. I hope the next owner loves the style as I'd hate to think of all that hard work going to waste.

5) Yorkshire, 10 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, 6 Reception Rooms, £2.75 million.

Another facade that has got me hot under the collar. I have a habit of planning parties which never come to fruition and this garden is giving me real imaginary party vibes. One other thing I have realised with places like this - you'd have to buy so much Tat to fill them! Well, you know where to find me.


Thanks for reading, I make no apologies for the time wasted.