Travel & Holidays

Disability and travel: spa dinner break

If you have a disability, travelling is rarely straight forward. So that’s why we’ve teamed up with Carrie-Ann Lightley from Tourism for All, to bring you a series of articles to help make travelling and disabled holidays easier and more accessible. This month Carrie-Ann talks about her spa dinner break…


Back in November 2015, my husband and I were pondering what we should buy each other for Christmas. Having decided that there was nothing each of us needed, and after a stressful house move, we thought that a relaxing break was in order!

After a family recommendation and some online research we decided on a spa dinner break at Ribby Hall Village – Spa Hotel.

We arrived in the afternoon of 23rd December, after a short drive over to Lancashire. The holiday village itself has lodges and cottages (some of them accessible) bars, restaurants, shops, swimming pools, tennis courts, a climbing wall, archery and lots more. The spa hotel is Ribby Hall’s adults only, luxury option, for relaxation and indulgence.

Following a speedy check in, we arrived in the biggest accessible room I have ever seen! Lots of space meant I could access all parts of the room in my wheelchair, and the bathroom offered the choice of an accessible bath tub or wheel in shower. Whilst all this was practical, there was no compromise on style, and the room, just like the rest of the hotel, was beautiful.

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Next was my first treat of the afternoon – an Elemis White Brightening Facial. The spa treatment rooms were self-contained, with their own reception and waiting rooms. My therapist offered to assist me to transfer from my wheelchair to the treatment bed, and was very helpful. I then lay there for 40 minutes or so feeling very relaxed, whilst various lotions and potions were massaged on to my face, arms and neck. Afterwards my skin felt wonderful and was much brighter and clearer.

I found my husband in the bar, where we sampled a couple of cocktails, before a quick change into our complimentary robes and slippers ready for the Aqua Thermal Journey. This was a series of steam rooms, saunas, pools and Jacuzzis of varying temperatures, just what was needed on a cold December day! All were accessible to me apart from the outdoor hot tub, which was up a flight of stairs. It should be noted however, that there weren’t any grab bars or hoists. The steps into the pool were wide and had railings either side and all of the saunas and steam rooms were step-free.

Feeling fully unwound from our afternoon of pampering, it was time to change for dinner. This was the best treat yet – in the hotel’s Orangery we were lucky enough to enjoy cod cheeks, gineau fowl, risotto, fillet steak, chocolate pudding and pistachio cake. The meal lasted 2 hours and the service was amazing, nothing too much trouble.

An equally amazing breakfast the next morning set us up for the journey back to Cumbria, and we were ready to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ribby Hall Spa Hotel to anyone, and I hope to return very soon.

By Carrie-Ann Lightley

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Carrie-Ann Lightley

I am a travel blogger, a freelance travel writer, and I also head up the marketing team for the national disability organisation AccessAble. Through my blog I aim to encourage and inspire disabled people to travel to, explore and discover new places. I was named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK, on the Shaw Trust #DisabilityPowerList100. 
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