It’s 2018 and we’re having a heatwave – so it’s time to get out into the big outdoors!

A big thank you to all the Compass Card families that came up with ideas – you can add your own suggestions in the comments box below if you log in with your Facebook, Twitter or Google account. Don’t forget, the best way to check Compass Card offers while you’re out and about is our free Compass Card app and you can rate and review offers on the app too. If you’re planning a trip in advance at home, or if you want to see the offers on a tablet, you can also see all our offers on our offers page.

The perfect summer for a swim in the local lido?

 This year’s summer is a record-breaker for hot, sunny days, so our outdoor lido offers are coming into their own! Our newest lido deal is at the recently refurbished Saltdean Lido and you’ll find free entry for Compass Card holders here , along with accessible parking and toilets and a swimming pool hoist. There are concessionary rates available for Compass Card holders and Compass Card family groups at Arundel Lido and at Petersfield Open Air Swimming Pool.  Compass Card holders under 16 pay £2, while over 16s pay £3. There’s hoist-assisted changing at Petersfield, but as with the other outdoor pools, there are steps into the pools and only Saltdean has a pool hoist.


Park life

What’s not to like about a local park? There’s space for games, so pack a Frisbee, a kite, a rounders bat – and a picnic – and make the most of your local space, or try something new… You can get Compass Card discounts on park tennis courts in Brighton and Hove and in Mid Sussex and Beech Hurst Park in Haywards Heath also offers a discount on its bowling green and petanque terrain.

“Beech Hurst in Haywards Heath is great – it has a large open space for ball games and picnics and a miniature train railway which is £1 a ride! It has beautiful flower gardens to see and a great park which is enclosed by a fence for most of it and has a large net swing and climbing frame outside the fencing. Harvester is right onsite for family-friendly food and drinks which has outside and inside seating and there is a little cafe for snacks, drinks and ice creams. Oh AND it has a *PokeStop! It is a cheap day out in good weather and has plenty of space for families to be together”, says Compass Card parent, Carla.

Tilgate Park near Crawley is hard to beat for outdoor space and a full range of things to do; there are no less than five Compass Card offers here at the moment at Skapequest (until Saturday 1 September 2018), Tilgate Nature Centre, the Walled Garden Community Café, Go Ape and Tilgate Forest Golf Centre. There’s also a hoist-assisted changing facility in Tilgate Park.

Over in Brighton, Stanmer Park has a real country feel to it, along with a duck pond, woods and open spaces. You could even book on an Earthship Brighton tour at Stanmer Organics if that’s your thing –

For more info about Brighton parks, visit For more info about parks in West Sussex, visit

* For fans of online game Pokemon GO, PokeStops are places that allow you to collect items like eggs and Poke Balls to capture more Pokemon!


Down the docks

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a huge site that’s teeming with naval history and there’s more than enough here for several visits. Aerial shot of Portsmouth Historic DockyardThe dockyard is home to famous warships like the Mary Rose and HMS Victory, as well as the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth. There isn’t a Compass Card offer here, but there are some great deals available online.

Compass Card mum, Chloe, recommends it. “Another place we like to go is Portsmouth Dockyard. If you book online it’s cheaper. *£36 for a family of 1 adult and up to 3 children. The ticket can be used for a whole year and you can collect a free carers ticket from the customer service when you arrive. We have been three times and not done everything there. They have a water bus tour and a very good activity centre for the kids including climbing wall and simulator all included in the annual ticket price as well as the museums and historic boats. It’s brilliant value for money. Disability access information on website and if you phone the helpline” she says.

For more information, see The site isn’t fully wheelchair accessible (there are steep steps in the Mary Rose for example), but there’s plenty that is and there are accessible toilets on the site. See for more info.

*When we checked this online, the cost is now £58, but it’s still a great deal for a whole year. There’s also a ‘kids go free’ offer under the ‘Full Navy’ ticket until 2 September 2018 where adults pay £31 and kids under 16 go free.


Garden havens

Forget the image of gardens as a place for green-fingered retired people! There are some gorgeous gardens in Sussex and plenty for the kids to do too. If you show the Compass Card at Borde Hill Garden, a carer and Compass Card holder get in for just £4.50. There’s a daily ‘The Garden of Imagination’ family garden trail (at an additional cost of £2 each) and on selected days, there are additional activities including circus skills, ‘Meet the Magical Mermaid and Glitter Facepainting’ and storytelling (some activities like circus skills are subject to what’s described as a ‘small additional cost’). See the Borde Hill events page for more info.  There’s also an adventure playground with zip wire, balance beams, swings, slides and climbing frames, plus plenty of space for ball games, kite flying and picnics.  Our latest garden offer is Sussex Prairie Garden near Henfield and there are eight acres of gardens where you’re welcome to wander among the mighty plants, plus some fantastic cakes in the café if you need to recharge.


Bird’s eye view

We don’t have an official Compass Card offer in place at Brighton’s i360, but Compass Card parent, Christine, who lives in Brighton, i360 in Brighton.recommends it for a trip out. Located on Brighton sea front at the site of the old West Pier, the i360 takes you up 138 metres for a great view of the city, the English Channel and beyond. As a resident of BN1, BN2, BN3 or BN41, Christine has a ‘Resident Membership’ that entitles her to discounted off-peak tickets for a year.

“Went on with [my son], I was free as his carer and only paid £8 for him. To all who are scared of heights the i360 was the smoothest ride – if you didn’t look you would think you were still on the ground.”

The i360 is wheelchair accessible – click here for more info. If you’re a Brighton and Hove resident, find out more about Resident Membership here.


Trust the National Trust

Compass mum, Chloe, says the National Trust is an outright winner for her family. The Trust looks after hundreds of sites National Trust East Sussexacross the length and breadth of the country and joining up gives you unlimited access to them.

“My tip for the summer holidays is to join the National Trust. We pay for a ‘Family 1 adult’ [membership] and you can include up to 10 children/grandchildren. It costs £5.95 a month (and we got a free gift when we joined). Then if you call the helpline and ask for an ‘access for all card’ for the child with disability, [it] gets a carer in free in all National Trust places. They have lots of information on the website and a helpline about disabled access (you can get the access for all card even if you’re not a member, you also can get a free carer without an access for all card if you bring proof of disability)” explains Chloe.

* We’ve checked this prices and it now costs £6.25 per month (£75 per year) for the ‘Family 1 Adult’ ticket. Find out more about the National Trust here.


Down on the farm

Get your wellies on and get up close with some farm animals this summer. There are Compass Card offers at seven Donkey and a cow.farms (including  Knockhatch Adventure Park which has a farm too), so it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Ferring Country Centre, a charitable organisation that provides training and work experience for people with learning disabilities, is Compass Card parent Jackie’s favourite. “A great day out with children is Ferring Country Centre, it’s a disabled riding centre so everything’s accessible and adapted, £2 quid entry, great cafe or take a picnic, lovely playground, sweet animal farm which is flat and accessible, great staff who let you hold the animals. We can easily fill a whole day there with a picnic plus your day out supports a great charity” A parent carer goes free with the Compass Card at Ferring.

Compass Card parent Tina has a great farm suggestion if you’re on a budget. Mile Oak Farm. A small free farm for a quick look at the horses and chickens, donkeys and peacocks. The cafe is reasonable and has nice homemade cakes.”

Mile Oak Farm is in Portslade, East Sussex BN41 2RF. Tel: 01273 424651 or email:

You could try Blackberry Farm too. Two carers go free with the Compass Card, there’s lots of animals to see, plenty of outdoor play areas and if the sun gets too much, there’s an indoor play barn. Bocketts Farm is also good for wheelchair accessibility if you fancy a trip into Surrey and Spring Barn Farm Park near Lewes is a firm favourite with families in the east of the county.


Say hello to Alice

Alice Holt Forest in Surrey may be a bit of a schlep, but we think it’s worth it and it has a 4.5 rating on Trip Adviser, which can’t be Woman and young man on assisted bike.bad! This lovely forest has a café, a forest trail, Go Ape treetop adventures with a Compass Card offer, playground and a Changing Places facility and accessible toilet. Car parking is charged for, but there’s no entry fee to the forest itself. Click here for more info.


Summer in Selsey

If you plan a day out in Selsey near Bognor, you’ll be spoilt for choice for Compass Card offers – there are three here and they’re all close to each other. So you could drop in to Selsey Go Karts and Crazy Golf and get a 20% discount for up to four. There are three double go karts which are good for children or young people who need extra assistance. Or, if the weather looks iffy, you could head to Oasis Leisure Complex next door and visit the pool with its megasplash water slide, lazy river and competition pool – one carer goes free with a Compass Card holder. Then there’s West Sands Funfair with free rides for the Compass Card holder (although the carer will need to pay the usual price if the card holder needs to be accompanied). And if you fancy it, you could finish up with games and a picnic on Selsey’s shingle beach.


Water, water everywhere

We’ve got three Compass Card offers designed to get you out on the water this summer. Brighton Kayak Experience’s Rob Chichester Harbour Conservatory boatLeatham aims to get everyone out on the water, no matter what their ability and he provides a 10% discount to card holders, plus a carer goes free. He runs group or one to one sessions in the sea at Shoreham or on local rivers and he’s running discounted one to one coaching at £40 per hour for Compass Card holders between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday  9 August. For more information and a kit list, visit Brighton Kayak Experience website. You can also call Rob on 07906 075172 if you want to discuss your child’s needs.

“Rob’s amazing with the kids. The fearlessness and confidence he instills in them is just brilliant” says Compass Card parent, Emma.

Wheelchair users may enjoy at trip on the Solar Heritage catamaran from Chichester Harbour Conservancy (the onboard toilet isn’t accessible, but there’s an accessible toilet on the harbour). The engines on the boat are virtually silent and the boat departs from Emsworth in the summer and takes in the glorious landscape of Chichester Harbour.

Buzz Active at Eastbourne and Cuckmere has proved popular with some Compass Card families and has plenty of experience with children and young people with additional needs (although it doesn’t have specialist equipment or hoists for those with complex needs). There’s a 5% Compass Card discount and you can choose from a range of watersports including kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing and power boating.

Buzz Active gets top marks from Compass Card parent, Janine. “They’re really fantastic with [my son]. The staff are to die for – young and enthusiastic. We started going in March and he’s already done his RYA levels 1, 2 and 3 and now he’s doing level 4.” 

  • Janine also recommends the Nancy Oldfield Trust for a break away where you can enjoy  can enjoy sailing, canoeing, fishing, bird watching and motor boat cruises in Norfolk in a fully accessible bungalow. “It’s so fantastic and totally specialist. It’s a hike, but the roads are clear out of season”.


Mellow yellow?

If beach sports and volleyball are your thing, Yellowave in Brighton could be your idea of heaven – and if you haven’t tried volleyball Aerial view of yellowave volleyball courtyet, perhaps it’s time to give it a go. You can book a whole court for £23 per hour for up to 12 people;  book a coached, hour long session for up to 12 for £75; or there are kids’ sessions for 5 to 7s and over 8s that cost £4 per hour.  There’s a Compass Card discount on court bookings during the day Monday to Friday, as well as a 10% discount in Yellowave’s Barefoot Café.