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Our top picks for packing more into a lake adventure

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The new MINI Countryman is ideal for enjoying Britain’s lakes and rivers. Whether wild swimming with friends, or getting wet and wild with the kids, MINI’s stylish SUV boasts enough space for five, 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.

Explore the lakes with the new MINI Countryman

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 – 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.

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 adventure. Or, if a lake is a bit small for your tastes, there are plenty of great coastal wild swims.

“There’s lots of room in the new MINI Countryman for wetsuits and all the other gear you need. When you’re done, crank up the air-con and heated seats to warm up again”

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. 

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.

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 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. 

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.

The NEW MINI Countryman:
the big mini. now better than ever.

The new MINI Countryman is the biggest, most versatile member of the MINI family.

It blends stylishly rugged looks and a spacious, high-tech, five-seat SUV interior with up to 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 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.

Flexible seating for five
The perfect family-size SUV, with versatile 40:20:40 rear seats as standard or the option of a sliding rear bench.

Plenty of luggage space
With 450 litres as standard, and up to 1390 litres with the rear seats down, you can carry more stuff, more easily.

Easy to load
A large practical tailgate comes as standard, while the Activity Pack adds an automatic tailgate with hands-free ‘Easy Opener’.

Packed with technology
A digital dashboard display and touchscreen, better smartphone connectivity, more safety aids and LED headlights.

TwinPower Turbo engines
Choose from high-tech petrol performance or responsive diesel efficiency across the MINI Countryman range

 

Efficient plug-in hybrid
The MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid delivers up to 26 miles of electric range, up to 166.2mpg and CO2 as low as 39g/km.

ALL4 all-wheel-drive
Delivering added confidence and safety for slippery road conditions, as well as off-road flexibility when needed.

Show your own style
Pick from 10 vibrant colours and a wealth of contrasting roof colours, bonnet stripes, alloy wheels and other style features. 

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Just like the spacious family-size new MINI Countryman, Britain is bigger than you think. With epic mountains, amazing forests, rugged coasts, scenic lakes, thrilling cities, and inspiring culture, there’s no shortage of great destinations for a break with a difference with family and friends. The new MINI Countryman is perfect for it all.

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