The story of the lovable and hard-working couple British couple who swapped their two-bedroom flat in Essex for a crumbling French chateau is back on our screens.
The fifth series of the Channel 4 television show Escape to the Chateau sees Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel finally striking a more comfortable work life balance after spending years in what was effectively a building site as they renovated their 45-room home.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline Property and This is Money, Dick – a retired lieutenant colonel – explained that after years of major renovation work, the family can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
He said: ‘We can see the light of comfort in the chateau and that is what this series is all about. The chateau is really turning around. We have removed the building site from the chateau.’
Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel return to our screens for the new Channel 4 series of Escape to the Chateau
The new series picks up in the spring of this year with the couple’s new glamping business under way.
But as with everything that the couple undertake, there is something unusual about the venture as one of the domes is on land while the other floats on the chateau’s moat.
The floating dome on the moat is for two people and the one on land accommodates four people. They have luxury interiors designed by Angel and even includes a swing.
Dick explains that he took the couple’s five-year old son Arthur on his first camping adventure, which was in a smaller family tent farther away on the other side of the moat to help mark the launch of the business.
‘It wasn’t far away, so that Mummy could still watch,’ Dick said.
The father and son duo enjoyed sausages and beans, with a quail as well. ‘It was all very proper,’ explained Dick.
Having broken the back of the major works at Chateau de la Motte Husson, it means most of the dirty work at the chateau is coming to an end – although there are still some projects to be done, such as the windows.
Dick and Angel continue to live the French fairytale in their 45-room renovated chateau
Their latest business venture is ‘glamping’ which includes one dome on land
The luxury interiors include a pretty swing overlooking the chateau’s grounds
It means the couple can focus on the businesses – including an established wedding offering – and allow themselves some more family time.
Angel explained: ‘We have established the weddings business, and now have a very capable team in place.
‘It is not just the two of us working 22 hour days for three days consecutively whenever there is a wedding.
‘It has been a very productive year with around 1,000 happy guests passing through the doors of the chateau.’
The glamping experience has an outdoor seating area specifically designed for guests
Luxury touches include comfortable armchairs overlooking the moat and a hot tub
There is plenty of privacy for guests booking to stay in one of the two glamping domes
The number of days that the couple run the weddings is not significant, totalling around 25 days.
While they are ‘totally committed’ to the business on those days, it means that they can now enjoy a life work balance with their younger children.
The glamping business runs from May to September, with the domes never occupied at the same time as a wedding being held at the chateau.
A magical experience: One of the domes floats on the moat surrounding the chateau
The couple’s journey began with the purchase of the derelict chateau in 2015 for just €390,000, the equivalent of £340,000.
They’d spent four years looking for the right property that ticked all of the right boxes before deciding on the 45-room chateau called Château-de-la-Motte Husson, in north-west France.
Three years on and the major renovations include a new lift, bathroom suites and a walled garden – and their adventure has been documented on Channel 4.
Dick and Angel – who first met in 2010 and were the first to get married at the chateau – have tackled most of the work to the 19th century building themselves.
The parents-to-two have won a legion of fans as they’ve undertaken the work on a tight budget.
For those who want to avoid having to renovate a property, here is our pick of luxury chateaux for sale in France – but with multi-million price tags, buyers will need deep pockets.
1. Ten-bedroom chateau in Var for £3,462,376
This enchanting chateau has been restored from its 15th century origins as a glass factor.
It is one hour from Nice airport, with the sale being handled by estate agents Home Hunts.
This chateau is only five minutes from the Terre Blanche in the south of France
The interior has been beautifully restored to provide a unique family home
The elegant bedrooms have been restored to showcase the patio doors and wooden beams
2. Renaissance chateau in Limousin for £3,756,887
The sale of this renaissance chateau in south-central France is being handled by Vitruve Associes (who declined to confirm the number of bedrooms at the property)
It includes a 17th century orangerie and other buildings that could be renovated.
This impressive Renaissance chateau is in the south-central region of France
The grand interior includes decorative wood panelling and beams on the ceiling
There is a large dining room with seating for 10 and a grand stone fireplace
3. Sixteen-bedroom chateau in Uzes for £3,221,324
This charming chateau is on a Provencal hilltop village in the region of Uzes in the South of France.
It dates back to the 17th century and stands on more than two acres of landscaped grounds. It is being sold via estate agents Home Hunts.
The chateau dates back to the 17th century, with the towers added in the 19th century
Plenty of space: The chateau covers more than 9,260 square feet of living space
The interior has recently been redecorated throughout and includes some carved stone
4. Seven-bedroom chateau in Haute-Savoie for £3,067,928
This medieval chateau was reconstructed in the 18th century and today includes a heated swimming pool and jacuzzi.
The sale of the property being handled by estate agents Home Hunts.
This medieval chateau is 30 minutes from Chambéry Airport and one hour from Meribel
Leisure time: There is a heated swimming pool in the extensive grounds of the chateau
Today the chateau has seven complete suites with views of the landscaped gardens
5. Ten-bedroom chateau in Gillonnay for £2,454,342
This 17th century chateau is an hour from Lyon and has been fully restored.
The sale is being handled by estate agents Agence Clerc.
This 17th century chateau is an hour from Lyon, between Lyon and Chambéry
The property has been fully restored with great care, according to the estate agents
The large rooms include a grand dining room with wood panelled walls and ceilings