• Carrie-Ann Lightley

2019: A Year in the Life of a Disabled Travel Blogger

Updated: Jul 10, 2020


Reviewing my 2019 in wheelchair accessible travel – from farm stays to spa hotels, countryside cottages and European getaways.


January


I’m not a resolutions kind of a girl, but I do like the ‘fresh start’ feeling that a new year brings. In the first few days of January 2019, I made a promise to myself… that this would be the year of saying yes! Yes to social invitations, yes to work opportunities, yes to blog trips.


After the trauma of 2018, what Darren and I really needed was to live life again, to have plenty to look forward to.


And so I set about organising review stays in wheelchair accessible hotels, cottages, and lodges for the first few months of the year.


February


February was a month of firsts - the first two trips of the year and my first ever visit to Leeds, to stay at the Crowne Plaza.


Accessible bedroom at Crowne Plaza Leeds

The hotel is conveniently located, with good facilities and a comfortable, luxurious interior. Crowne Plaza Leeds is a great choice for stylish, accessible accommodation close to the heart of the city.


Crowne Plaza Leeds: Access Review – click here to read more


Late February took us to gorgeous Northumberland, to stay at the Amble Inn, reviewing the accommodation and restaurant, as well as local places to visit, eat and drink.


Carrie-Ann and her dog Poppy at a heritage site in Northumberland

Glorious weather, the friendliest welcome, cosy, accessible accommodation, and delicious food – the weekend was an absolute delight.


Northumberland by Wheelchair – click here to read more


March


Along came March, always a busy month for me with major work events and a lot of family birthdays, including mine!


For me, the best way to celebrate was at a relaxing Harrogate hideaway.


Spa swimming pool

Carrie-Ann in the spa

Stunning surroundings, the most luxurious spa, delicious food, and award-winning accessibility - my stay at Rudding Park was the perfect escape.


Rudding Park Hotel & Spa: Access Review – click here to read more


April


I always think of April as the beginning of Spring – though where I live in the Lake District we can often still have snow hanging around! So not ideal for wheelchair access.


Thankfully there was no such snow in the Peak District, as we travelled over to Derbyshire for a weekend of accessible farm life, complete with teeny baby lamb and goats!


Carrie-Ann using an all terrain wheelchair in farm fields

Hidden in the spectacular Peak District hills between Ashbourne and Bakewell, Hoe Grange Holidays offers four stylish self-catering log cabins, and two gorgeous glamping pods, all situated on a working farm.


Hoe Grange Holidays: Access Review – click here to read more


May


May is another month of celebration in my world, as our wedding anniversary is early in the month, which we always try to mark with a trip to somewhere new.


Our trip to Bordeaux was another one of firsts – the first time we’d travelled to France, and the first time we’d hired a car abroad. It certainly won’t be the last, on either of those points!


Carrie-Ann in her wheelchair outside the gite

We stayed at Domaine du Sourire, an accessible gite complex in Champagne-et-Fontaine, the beautiful Dordogne region of South West France.


France's Dordogne Region by Wheelchair – click here to read more


June


June brought us the final two blog trips of 2019 – the first in Fife, an area which we know well, but in an accommodation which was new to us.

The Rings, Fife

Set in 90 acres of rural, tranquil Fife farmland 20 minutes from St Andrews, The Rings offers flexible self-catering cottages with a total of 8 bedrooms, sleeping up to 16 people.


Carrie-Ann using a beach wheelchair on St Andrews Beach

The Rings, Fife: Access Review – click here to read more


June’s second trip was the closest to home, staying at The Quarters, Lancaster – accessible self-catering accommodation just 20 miles from where I live.


Collage showing rooms at The Quarters, Lancaster

The Quarters, Lancaster: Access Review – click here to read more


July and August


After an epic 7 trips in 5 months, we took the decision to spend the summer weekends relaxing at home.


This was the first summer we’d had a completed, accessible landscaped garden, and we really made the most of it, lighting the BBQ whenever the weather was good enough, and sometimes when it wasn’t!

BBQ cooking

September


I was so excited about September’s trip, the thing every travel blogger craves – an actual, rest and relaxation, no laptops allowed, HOLIDAY!


I love writing reviews, and it means the world when someone gets in touch to tell me that my blog has given them the confidence to book a trip as a disabled person, but also I think it’s really important to be able to take a proper break and switch off.


Carrie-Ann sits in front of a marina in Portugal

So the one trip taken in 2019 which I won’t be reviewing was to Vilamoura, Portugal. I will say that for my access needs it was spot on, and if you’d like to know more about it feel free to get in touch.


October


A little before the beginning of October, an email landed in my inbox which I couldn’t quite believe.


I’d been named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK, on the Shaw Trust #DisabilityPowerList100.


Carrie-Ann sits in front of a purple banner with the Power 100 branding

I grew up without any disabled mentors, and now I have the opportunity to empower the next generation, and I’m so honoured. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me to get here.


November


November brought a trip of a very different kind for me – a drive over to Chesterfield, to speak as the special guest at the annual ball for the charity CP Teens UK.


Carrie-Ann on stage at the ball

This incredible charity provides help, hope, inspiration, and friendship - everything disabled teenagers need. Speaking at the ball was truly an honour and a privilege.


December


And here we are in December – what a year!


7 blog trips, 16 blog posts, awards, accolades, and some awesome memories.


My heartfelt thanks to each and every person who’s read my blog posts, clicked the like button, followed me on social media or supported me in any way in 2019 – without you I wouldn’t be able to do any of this.


Right now I’m planning a huge trip for 2020, one which has been on my bucket list for a long time, and some shorter weekend stays to review even more amazing accessible accommodation for you all.


Until then, Happy New Year x



0 comments

Keep updated with Carrie-Ann Lightley's latest posts, get FREE accessible travel resources - including a 30 day wheelchair travel planner - along with a regular newsletter of full of guides, reviews and travel tips, straight to your inbox. Sign up here.