• 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.


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 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.

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.

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


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.

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


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!

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 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!

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 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.

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.

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.

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!


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.

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.


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.

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 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.

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


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


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.

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©2020 by Carrie-Ann Lightley. Images: StoneVillage Photography. Privacy Policy.