Currently reading: Promoted | The new MINI Countryman: enjoy a day on the lakes
We’re exploring Britain’s best staycation spots in MINI’s family-size SUV. Here, we take to the water
News
10 mins read
7 October 2020

There’s no end to the great British adventures you can enjoy, and we’ve teamed up with the new MINI Countryman to find some of the UK’s standout destinations and inspiring activities to help you supersize your next staycation with friends or family.

With room for five, up to 1390 litres of versatile luggage space, and plenty of ways to customise your MINI to make it even more stylish or even more practical, the new family-size MINI Countryman SUV is a real all-rounder. Add in the option of ALL4 all-wheel-drive or an efficient Plug-in Hybrid with 26 miles of low-impact electric range, and you’ve got true go-anywhere ability.

So, whether you’re wild swimming with friends, or getting wet and wild with the kids, the new MINI Countryman offers more room to pack more in – with plenty of versatile luggage space and even more roof rail storage up top for canoes, rafts or water skis. Whatever floats your boat, really.

For more inspiring big British adventures or to find out more about the new MINI Countryman, head to minicountryman.whatcar.com

Go wild swimming in the great outdoors

Swimming pools are great. Open air pools are even better. But there’s nothing like the rush of plunging into a giant freshwater lake or magical blue lagoon with a stunning vista. Wild swimming needs more consideration than a dip in your gym’s 25m pool, so read up before you dive in. But, once you know the ins and outs, you’re set for an exhilarating experience.

With up to 1390 litres of luggage space, there’s lots of room in the new MINI Countryman, for wetsuits and all the other gear you need. And, when you’re done, crank up the air-con and heated seats to warm up again.

As you’d expect, the Lake District is packed with great places to sample wild swimming. Ullswater, Windermere, and Buttermere are three of the sport’s hotspots, while Rydal Water has the awe-inspiring backdrop of ‘Wordsworth’s Seat’, supposedly the poet’s favourite viewing spot. Galleny Force at Stonethwaite offers a more secluded mix of pools and waterfall cascades.

In Scotland, the waterfall of Rob Roy’s Bathtub near Stirling, and the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye – with its vivid crystal clear azure water and a trail of waterfalls, pools and underwater archways – or offer two distinctly wild ways to start swimming in open water. If an open lake is more your thing, Dores Beach on the shores of Loch Ness, or Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms are also wild swimming hotspots. It’s also worth hunting out the nearby An Lochan Uaine (‘The Green Loch’) for a truly secluded experience.

Rheidol Vale Falls near Aberystwyth is a great place to start a Welsh wild swimming adventure, while Lady Falls in the Brecon Beacons, and Rhaeadr Mawddach in Snowdonia offer stunning waterfall pools. For something more extreme, Wales’s mountain tarns are an exhilarating place to cool off after a hike. Llyn Idwal, Llyn Eiddew, Llynnau Mymbyr, Llyn Glaslyn and Llyn Cau all boast stunning views of Snowdon’s dramatic horseshoe, while Llyn y Fan Fach in the Brecon Beacons is equally dramatic.

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If you’re after something a bit simpler, Sharrah Pool in Dartmoor, Claverton Weir near Bath, Appletreewick on the River Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales and Port Meadow in Oxford also offer a great introduction to wild swimming adventures. Or, if a lake is a bit small for your tastes, there are plenty of great coastal wild swims.

For more inspiring big British adventures or to find out more about the new MINI Countryman, head to minicountryman.whatcar.com

Let the kids loose on the water

Sometimes a day out isn’t about mum and dad, and the UK’s best water adventure parks are perfect for a range of fun kid-friendly activities. With room for five (while retaining a full 450 litres of luggage space), the new MINI Countryman has all the room you need for a day of getting wet and wild. Plus, the automatic tailgate, sliding rear seats and picnic bench of the new MINI Countryman’s optional Activity Pack make a swimming trip with the kids easier than ever.

The UK has plenty of family-friendly inland watersports centres. The New Forest Water Park in Hampshire and Thorpe Lakes on the edge of the M25 at Chertsey boast two of Britain’s biggest and best kid-friendly aqua parks with giant inflatable obstacle courses. For more grown up children (and kids at heart), there’s also wakeboarding and waterskiing.

Head to Rutland Water in the Midlands to find one of Europe’s largest man-made lakes, where you can hire windsurfers, paddle board, rowing boats and kayaks. Or travel north of the Scottish Borders to visit the Galloway Activity Centre, where you can take to Loch Ken for wakeboarding, windsurfing and water skiing.

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If you’re longing for even more space, head to Newquay in Cornwall, a town famous for its surfing culture and water sports. At Newquay Water Sports Centre you can try your hand at white water ‘surf rafting’, take a kayak tour of the coast or jump aboard the big yellow banana float towed by a Jet Ski - it’ll get you from 0-30mph in just 1.5 seconds.

For more inspiring big British adventures or to find out more about the new MINI Countryman, head to minicountryman.whatcar.com

Boat trips with a difference

There are plenty of conventional ways to enjoy the UK’s lakes, rivers, canals and waterways – whether it’s a scenic ferry cruise, a canal barge holiday, a leisurely kayak, or extreme white water rafting. But, there are lots of other unusual ways to take to the water.

At ORCA Adventures in the Lake District, you can build your own canoe from scratch. Experts are on hand to guide you through the process, and – once you’re done – it’s yours to keep. You can then strap your canoe to the roof rails of your new MINI Countryman, chuck an oar through the middle of the 40:20:40 split rear seats (leaving room for two rear passengers to sit in comfort), and explore the vast waters of the Lake District, travel to the lochs of Scotland or meander down the Thames in your own, hand-built personalised boat.

Winnats Pass in the Peak District is a stunning road that winds its way through a limestone valley to the peak of Mam Tor – perfect for the new MINI Countryman’s responsive chassis, powerful TwinPower Turbo engines and confidence-inspiring optional ALL4 all-wheel-drive. Under it lies Speedwell Cavern, where you can embark on an underground boat trip through a 200 year old lead mine. Gliding down the whisper quiet canal you finally come to the Bottomless Pit, an enormous subterranean lake - truly a boat trip with a difference.

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If you’d like to experience a boat ride where you’re elevated 24 metres from one canal to another, using just the energy required to boil eight kettles, visit the Falkirk Wheel in the Scottish Borders. This uniquely high-tech rotating boat lift connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, using Archimedes’ Principle to perfectly balance the structure and reduce the amount of electricity required to rotate it. Even if you don’t have a canal barge, you can take a passenger boat ride. It’s a memorable experience, to say the least.

Finally, if speed is your thing, make your way to London for a thrilling blast down the Thames in a motorised rib. Thames Rockets provides a variety of family-friendly experiences from late-night excursions to sightseeing journeys – all done at ludicrously high velocity.

For more inspiring big British adventures or to find out more about the new MINI Countryman, head to minicountryman.whatcar.com

The new MINI Countryman: The big MINI. Now better than ever.

The new MINI Countryman SUV is the biggest, most versatile member of the MINI family. It blends stylish looks and a spacious, high-tech, five-seat interior with between 450 litres and 1390 litres of highly flexible and adaptable luggage space – while also offering a wealth of ways to customise your car your way, making it feel even more premium or even more practical.

Add in the ability to choose confidence-inspiring optional ALL4 all-wheel-drive and a plug-in hybrid engine that delivers up to 26 miles of all-electric running and impressive fuel efficiency, and you’ve got the perfect partner for big adventures with family and friends.

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Elegantly spacious; eminently practical

The new MINI Countryman has become a well-loved staple of British roads in the last 10 years, thanks to its standout style, oodles of space and flexible rear seating, as well as a fun driving character that has made it a favourite for families and car-lovers alike. Now, the new MINI Countryman is even better and even more practical.

With seating for five and 450 litres of boot space as standard, there’s plenty of room to ferry friends, family and all their luggage. But the new MINI Countryman’s designers have thought about lots of extra clever ways to squeeze every inch of practicality into the car.

The standard-fit 40:20:40 folding rear seats offer up to 1390 litres of storage when folded flat, with the ability to push long loads such as skis through the middle while still seating two rear passengers in comfort. The large tailgate makes it easy to load bulky items, while the four luggage compartment lashing eyes helps you keep your load secure.

The optional Activity Pack adds an ‘Easy Opener’ hands-free automatic tailgate that makes loading even more effortless, as well as adding a sliding rear bench seat that offers a different way to configure your luggage space and a picnic bench that is perfect for days out with the family.

Original MINI Accessories offer plenty of further options for personalisation or practicality – including rear-mounted bicycle racks, and accessories for the standard-fit roof rails that let you load sports gear or a roof box for even more luggage space on longer trips.

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Style that stands out

Don’t think that the new MINI Countryman is all work and no play, though. MINI is known for its attitude-oozing style, and the new MINI Countryman lets you choose from 10 vibrant paint colours, contrasting roof and mirror caps, five different bonnet stripes, 11 alloy wheel designs and a host of different interior trim materials. It’s your car, to mould your way.

Interior mood lighting lets you set the scene with a choice of 12 basic colours and 700 shades, while the Union Jack rear lighting arrangement helps you stand out from the crowd. On Cooper S, John Cooper Works and ALL4 all-wheel-drive models, a body-coloured bonnet scoop and twin tailpipes convey your sporty side. Chrome accents – inside and out – scream class, while the rugged trims and raised-up body show that this SUV (and its driver) mean business.

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Tech that keeps you connected

The new MINI Countryman’s abundance of advanced in-car tech makes solo or family journeys even more fun, while helping you stay connected to friends, colleagues and loved ones.

A bold 5-inch digital display cockpit and a large 8.8-inch central touchscreen with MINI Navigation and Real Time Traffic Information are fitted as standard, while the optional head-up display puts even more key information directly in the driver’s eye-line. The new MINI Countryman’s DAB radio has six speakers for impressive sound, while Bluetooth, a USB port and Apple CarPlay let you connect compatible smartphones for music, calls or apps.

MINI ConnectedDrive gives you the ability to search online, while the Navigation Plus Pack adds a second USB port, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging and Amazon Alexa voice control. You can fit an impressive 12-speaker Harman Kardon Hi-Fi system, too.

The Comfort Pack adds automatic air-conditioning and heated seats, and if you opt for the heated front windscreen or the panoramic glass sunroof – which floods the interior with even more natural light – the new MINI Countryman feels as lavish to drive as it is practical.

Performance with punch and efficiency

MINI has always been renowned for its highly engaging driving character, and the new MINI Countryman doesn’t compromise its fun factor for SUV status. A range of powerful and economical engines – using MINI’s TwinPower Turbo technology – work with a responsive chassis to make the new MINI Countryman a nimble road-hugger, while optional ALL4 all-wheel drive delivers added confidence on slippery trails.

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With petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid variants, there’s an engine to suit every need, whether it’s the turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol with 134bhp, or the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel with 258lb ft of torque – delivering impressive pulling power for when the car is packed with people and luggage. For even punchier performance, the turbocharged 175bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine in new MINI Countryman Cooper S models delivers 0-62mph in just 7.5 seconds, while maintaining an impressive combined economy figure of 42.8mpg.

Finally, the new MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid delivers the best of all worlds, with up to 26 miles of rechargeable all-electric range, impressive combined fuel economy up to 166.2mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 39g/km. And don’t think compromises driving fun. The Plug-in Hybrid is fitted with a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system for added grip and with a combined output of 217bhp and near-instant electric punch delivering 284lb ft of torque, you have a hot hatch-baiting 0-62mph performance of 6.8 seconds.

Standout safety

The new MINI Countryman hosts a range of driving aids and safety tech to make journeys easier and more relaxing, while keeping you and your passengers protected and safe.

Powerful LED headlights and fog lights are fitted as standard to help you cut through the dark, while you can choose to add Adaptive LED headlights with matrix technology to better illuminate bends and automatically dip the lights for other traffic. Rain sensors and automatic headlight activation help you safely carve a path through the strongest storm, while automatic emergency braking, ABS and stability control keep you on the straight and narrow.

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And, when you reach your destination, the new MINI Countryman features rear parking sensors as standard, but the Comfort Plus pack adds a rear camera, front parking sensors, automatic Parking Assistant and folding mirrors. It’s that finishing touch to the perfect adventure.

For more inspiring big British adventures or to find out more about the new MINI Countryman, head to minicountryman.whatcar.com

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