Room with a view: A MINI Countryman weekend to Durdle Door, Dorset

The summer days and nights may have drawn to a close but there are still a lot of travelling adventures to be had in the British countryside, no matter what time of year it is.

A recent OnePoll research revealed 83% of Brits would like to make more effort to visit iconic views and locations within the UK and the reason we most like UK coastal areas is for the views. This research also demonstrates how domestic tourism has been on the rise, with nearly half of all Brits going on a last minute ‘staycation’ within the UK in the last year.

In response to the findings, MINI teamed up with Visit England and Visit Wales to create ‘Room with a view’ which offered an exclusive opportunity to stay on a private land in some of the UK’s most beautiful spots. Members of the public had the option to do glamping in one of three scenic locations: Durdle Door on the world famous Jurassic Coast in Dorset; the stunning Cheddar Gorge with a backdrop of dramatic cliffs in Somerset, and the majestic glacial mountain range of Snowdonia in Wales.

Yahoo! UK had the pleasure of celebrating this spontaneous getaway by heading to Durdle Door which is part of the Lulworth Estate. After a two and a half hour journey from London’s Waterloo station to Wool, we we’re picked up by our chauffeured Mini Countryman which upon first impressions was everything a girl could dream of and more.

The new MINI Countryman is sturdy, nippy and comes equipped with a satnav to make any destination easy to reach, a rear view camera and a head-up display to make you more aware on the road.

As we drove past miniature cottage houses and the endless green fields playing backdrop to the narrow twisting roads, there was no denying my three girlfriends and I where miles away from city life.

2017 Mini Countryman
2017 Mini Countryman

Upon reaching the site we ran wild like teenagers home alone for the first time. Except we weren’t in a house, we were at one with nature with the limestone arch of Durdle Door as our next door neighbour. The great myth about this world famous geological wonder is that it came to be, after an ‘undiscovered’ dinosaur called Durdle Doorus was magically transformed into rock.

Thankfully we had the sunshine Gods on our side, which made the views of Durdle Door even more outstanding. It was gleaming not only from the sun but its sweeping views of the ocean-front. This remote location was the perfect picturesque spot for us to get supreme privacy in style.

For our weekend, only the basic necessities were needed, a portaloo, a camping shower and a tent area for us to sit, relax and have dinner. To be honest none of that even mattered to us as our two MINI Countryman’s were the stars of the show. Both cars came equipped with an aluminium ladder to reach our rooftop tents which inside contained pillows, sleeping bags, two doors with mosquito nets, an LED light and a sassy welcome pack featuring MINI accessories.

Adding to the authenticity of the weekend was having Zelda Sowerby, our very own renowned local chef from Great Tastes providing us yummy meals which had all been reared and sourced nearby to Dorset.

Our landscape adventure began with Jurassic Activities, an activities Centre at Lulworth Cove. We signed up for the Kayak tour, which involved two hours of kayaking around the Jurassic coastline.
Donning our wet suits, our group of four looked like the Cool Runnings squad ready for action but deep down as beginners we we’re petrified of falling into the water.

Luckily our expert guide and instructor, Bards was extremely patient, motivating and made us feel at ease with the challenge ahead. After take-off, two of our group turned out to be pro’s with their Kayak’s, while me and my partner were not so fast to pick up. This led to Bards having to secure us with a rope and tow us along with his kayak.

It was a much-needed move as we eventually picked up the safe techniques to deal with the choppy sea we were gliding through. Once we felt confident enough, we we’re able to relax and take in the breathtaking views of Durdle Door in all its glory! As we weaved in out of the Lulworth cove area, Bards told us about the Jurassic coastline’s fascinating history, the local geology and how it occurred.

Did you know the Jurassic Coast attracts around six million visitors every year, with hundreds of thousands of people travelling to the 95-mile-long heritage site to collect fossils. The area was granted UNESCO status in 2001 and the layers of rock record 185 million years of history.

I felt a sense of achievement and new-found confidence as we returned to back to the bay in one piece. We came, we saw and conquered our fears of kayaking, thanks to Jurassic Coast activities.

Durdle Door – Dorset (Photo: Alessio Putzu/Caters News)

As night dawned, the realities of being at one with nature kicked in as we said goodbye to our hosts and were only left with a security guard and our two MINI Countryman’s.

We did what any group of any four 30-something females would do, we cranked up the volume on our Mini’s DAB radio, connected our bluetooth’s music playlists and had a party well into the early hours of the morning. We eventually slept like babies as we settled into our sleeping bags.

After an adrenalin-fuelled Saturday a much calmer Sunday was in store for the four of us. It wasn’t as sunny as the previous day but nothing could beat waking up to the breath-taking vista’s of Durdle Door. Plus that fresh country air was enough to embrace the zen of being away from London.

While two of the group headed for tea and scones at Lulworth Lodge by Petit Hotels, my friend and I put on our hiking boots and headed for a coastal walk with Jurassic Jaunts.

Leading our footsteps was Andy Pedric, who owns the Jurassic Jaunts business, and has walked on the Dorset Coast for over 20 years. Putting us ‘youngsters’ to shame Andy was energetic, well composed and familiar with this one hour hike.

It literally became a walk to take our breath away as the path wended its way through Durdle Door to the high paths of Lulworth Cove. The uphill walk was daunting and left me panting but the sound of the crashing of the waves urged me to persevere.

Once we climbed the wide stairs and reached the peak of the hill, there were spectacular coastal views of the chalk stacks and arches carved by the sea in Jurassic times.To our delight, Andy ushered in the good news that the hardest part of the walk was over as we entered the small village of West Lulworth which is bustling with local pubs and inviting B&Bs.

The end of our walk also drawed to a close our trip to Dorset and my o my I couldn’t help but feel that sometimes a simple change in scenery can make you feel on the other side of the world let alone in the UK, especially when you have a room with a view.

For more information on MINI’s Room with a view, click here.

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