Review: Discover – Children’s Story Centre

Discover – Children’s Story Centre is the UK’s first Story Centre for children aged 0-11 and their families.

I visited Discover with my children, aged 2 and 4, on one of our holiday day trips out into London. It was a great location to meet my sister and her 6 month old baby too as Stratford is so well connected!

Getting to Discover from Hitchin

When going into London, I always try to take the train (when they’re running properly, ahem!) but I’d never taken the girls into town on my own…

I paid a little extra to take the High Speed service from St Pancras to Stratford International – a very easy journey and no stairs to contend with!

Discover is a 15 minute walk from Stratford International so I took the pushchair to save tired little legs. Pushchairs aren’t allowed in the Story World area but there is plenty of buggy parking and locks available too.

Activities on offer at Discover

A reading corner inside Story World

On arrival we were given our schedule for the day. There are always plenty of activities on offer – the exhibition during our visit was all about Julia Donaldson’s books.

My BIGGEST tip is to book activities online before you visit. These vary by day and exhibition but are essential to making it a full day. The exhibition changes every 6 – 12 months. 

We pre-booked a screening of The Gruffalo, a meet the author session with craft, a reading of a Squash and a Squeeze plus entry to the “A World Inside A Book” exhibition that is currently on. All this was included in our ticket price (additional £1.50 for exhibition).

Exploring the Story World

Exploring the Story World

First though, we had time to explore the Story World – a creative play space designed to inspire children’s curiosity and imagination.

There are several different spaces to explore from giant’s castles to spaceships as well as a story corner. Imaginations were running wild with make-believe stories…

Creating puppets from spoons!

The was also a “Story Builder” on hand to encourage children to create their own stories and involve them in a “Spoon Puppet” craft activity (no additional charge).

Mavis the Spoon

The Spoon Puppets were a massive success (must buy some wooden spoons to recreate this!) and are still played with at home…

Cafe at Discover

We ate in the cafe, although there are also picnic spaces available. I’d read mixed reviews but I felt the food on offer was tasty and great value so I’m glad I didn’t lug a picnic with me too.

Story Garden

The Story Garden is a small outdoor play area, also aimed at encouraging creativity and was a lovely way to burn off energy after lunch!

A World Inside A Book

Loving the Snail and the Whale part of the exhibition

If you or your little ones have ever read a Julia Donaldson book, I’d urge you to get down to see the “A World Inside a Book” exhibition before it finishes in September.

I won’t give away the magic of it but we were all really blown away by the whole exhibition and it was a definite highlight of our visit.

Meet the author

Meeting Joe Lyward, author of “My Dad is My Uncle’s Brother”

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the author session but we all enjoyed hearing a book read by it’s creator and illustrator.

The children were able to ask questions about being a author and the related craft session was fantastic.

Heading home

On the way home we stopped for an ice cream (from the Waitrose in Westfield) in the play area outside Stratford International station. A great bribe to get them home!

A lovely day full of unexpected delights.

We can’t wait to see what the next exhibition will be and look forward to returning in the future…

Important information

Discover
383-387 High Street
Stratford
London E15 4QZ

020 8536 5555
bookings@discover.org.uk
www.discover.org.uk

  • Make sure you book activities before you visit to avoid being disappointed. If you can’t find availability online, do call – they were very helpful on the phone!
  • Allow time to travel from the station to the centre which takes at least 15 minutes on foot. You will not be allowed entry to some sessions if you arrive late.
  • If you are driving, the closest parking to at Stratford Shopping Centre.