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  • Writer's pictureCarrie-Ann Lightley

A Disabled Traveller’s Guide to Lockdown Holidays at Home

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Hands up disabled travellers – who's missing accessible holidays? I know I am. So, I created my ultimate wheelchair accessible lockdown holiday at home.

AD – this post contains sponsored links to Cibes Lift UK, My Mobility Guide and The Hammock

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about travel as a disabled person, it’s how to be creative. Whether that’s scouring the internet to find the best wheelchair accessible places to visit in Rome, hunting down products to help with accessible travel, or finding dog friendly wheelchair accessible places to stay in the UK, I’ve become an excellent problem solver. Lockdown means that wheelchair accessible travel in the UK and overseas is off the agenda at the moment, and I do so miss that holiday feeling; cocktails by the pool, exotic food, relaxing in the sun. 

I’m incredibly fortunate to have a wheelchair accessible home, something that I’ve been even more grateful for during the Coronavirus crisis. The house does have stairs, I’m aware that there will come a time when I can’t manage to climb them, so I regularly research domestic stair lifts in the home, safe in the knowledge that I can plan to future-proof my house when the time comes.

To ease my longing for travel, I decided to combine my love for accessible holidays with my love for where I live and create my wheelchair accessible lockdown holiday at home.

If you’re a disabled traveller who’s longing for that holiday atmosphere, read on to find out how I used outside space, food, drinks, and a little creativity to carve out my own little haven, whilst still staying safe in isolation.

Accessible Lockdown Holiday at Home Tip 1 - Outdoor Space

A key component in my lockdown at-home holiday is accessible outdoor space. I know how lucky I am to have this, having lived without any outdoor space for 7 years, and then spending another 4 years making our garden wheelchair accessible. 

In a previous life, my husband was a landscaper, so he’s used his talents to transform our garden from sloping grass and gravel (very inaccessible) into one big paved space with a long central wheelchair ramp and different ‘zones’ for eating, cooking, chilling out and socialising.

This year’s project has become my favourite little corner – a sun trap with comfy cushions for lounging on, lavender plants for that calming scent, and a chimenea for the chilly evenings. Everything was made using reclaimed materials and upcycling – even the cushions.

In future, I'd love to add a hammock for the ultimate relaxing experience.

Disabled lockdown holiday at home - garden chill out area - pallet benches with bright blue cushions and lavender plants behind

Disabled lockdown holiday at home - chimenea burning

Accessible Lockdown Holiday at Home Tip 2 – Home Delivered Cocktails!

Regular readers and those who know me well won’t be at all surprised by this tip – for me, a holiday simply isn’t a holiday without a good cocktail! So, imagine my delight when I discovered an accessible way to get my favourite tipples, whilst supporting a local business and good causes, with just a few clicks.

Rioja Ulverston launched a local home delivery service for spirits, beers, cocktails and sweets, and for each purchase, they make a donation to fantastic local charities. 

My personal favourites are the Mojito and the Passionfruit Martini. Anyone reading who’s local to Cumbria, I can’t recommend this service highly enough! 

Disabled lockdown holiday at home - cocktail pouches, ice and lime wedges in a box

Disabled lockdown holiday at home - wheelchair user Carrie-Ann drinking a cocktail

Accessible Lockdown Holiday at Home Tip 3 – Summertime Food

Food is a huge part of any accessible travel experience for me, I love trying new cuisines. For my at-home holiday, that means finding new recipes, getting deliveries from takeaways and restaurants I haven’t tried before, and experimenting with the BBQ.

This month I’ve tried locally made, home-delivered burritos from the excellent Bandito Burrito in Windermere, barbecued side dishes like sweet potato (so good!) to go with the usual meats, and my favourite lazy Sunday lunch for summer; slow-cooked roast chicken with a huge salad and stuffed jacket potatoes.

Disabled lockdown holiday at home - wheelchair accessible BBQ

Accessible Lockdown Holiday at Home Tip 4 – Exploring local wheelchair walks

Why do I love accessible travel? Because I love to explore new places! Clearly, that’s a huge challenge right now, but the slower pace of lockdown life has taught me to appreciate what I have closer to home. 

Living on the edge of the Lake District means that sometimes popular walking routes can be busy, making social distancing a challenge. Relying on dropped kerbs as a wheelchair user means that I have to use my psychic powers of deduction to work out what others around me are going to do (will they cross over when they see me coming? Won’t they? Shall I just go down the middle of the road whilst muttering ‘2 metres!’), so I’ve taken to heading out at the crack of dawn to scope out the best wheelchair accessible routes whilst most people are still in bed. 

Disabled lockdown holiday at home - wheelchair user Carrie-Ann sitting by a Lake District river, holding her dog on a lead

Some people may think that the concept of an accessible holiday at home is a bit silly, but for me, it’s so important to take these mini-breaks; they help my body to recover from the days when I spend hours sat in my wheelchair hunched over a laptop, and my mental health benefits hugely from a break from all of the stressful things happening in the world at the moment. Even in lockdown when the rules of ‘normal’ life are relaxed, I need to make a point of having this switched off time, which helps me to be more creative and productive on busier days.

Where Next?

If you’re dreaming of the day when we can all start travelling and taking holidays outside of the home again, I have some blog posts which may help.



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