East London is a bit of a trek for us, but we have still visited the Discover Story Centre twice as we love it so much. It is based around children’s imagination and particularly books, making the most amazing play space we’ve been to.
Ground Floor: on land
The ground floor of the Discover Story Centre has been made to look like a forest with caves and streams, lots of climbing space and hiding! There is a small castle with characters inside and a boat in the pretend stream. Inside the cave the lights which shine on the floor make different sounds as you step on them and there are crocodiles poking out of the stream for use as stepping stones from the sand to the jetty. Each floor has a craft area with small tables and chairs with colouring and sticking supplies.
First Floor: Up in the sky
The first floor is cleverly designed to be figuratively higher than the ground floor as well as spatially, therefore there are clouds and hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling. The climbing areas up here are space craft and air ships and there are giant cloud seats for the brief resting we managed to fit in.
On both of our visits, the Julia Donaldson special attraction was in place, A World Inside a Book. This has now sadly ended but A Tiger who came to Tea is coming soon. This attraction is a small additional fee but well worth it. The World Inside a Book attraction started in a room, which looked identical to Charlie Cook’s, where we heard a Julia Donaldson story. Then my magic the bookcase opened and we were surrounded by her famous characters and locations. Zog, the Gruffalo, Smartest Giant in Town, Snail and the Whale, Tiddler, Room on the Broom and many more. We had about thirty minutes to explore the area, play with the items and try on some props. I wished to be a child to really live the excitement.
Outside: more imaginative fun
In the garden of the Discover Story Centre is a fabulous playground, as if the inside wasn’t already enough. There are slides, pirate ships, space craft, musical instruments, small houses and much more. Make sure you arrive well before any planned events at the centre to fit in enough playing time. All geared to unleash your children’s imagination.
There are events happening often at the Discover Story Centre, we have also attended short film screenings, workshops and readings. Often these are free or a nominal fee and the entrance fee is also very reasonable. The cafe mainly caters for children, plenty of healthy snacks and treats, and the adult food can sell out, but there are also picnic areas.
Baby friendly info:
The closest station is Stratford, catered by the tube, trains and buses, the centre is a short walk from there and the venue has lifts so is step free or buggies can be left on the ground floor. The whole of the Discover Story Centre is geared to children so there are:
- Accessible toilets
- Children’s food
- Buggy parking
- Lockers for larger bags (easier for running after active climbers and players)