Museums reviewed by parents: Discover Children's Story Centre
A story-telling playground, Discover offers indoor dressing up, crafting and role-playing fun. Packed with books and brilliant nooks and crannies to explore, it's the perfect place to unleash your child's imagination. Elena Dalrymple visited with Kate, 10, Tom, 7, and Emily, 3.
Cross the trip-trap bridge and whisper secrets in the underground cave; play a tune by jumping on noisy multi-coloured polka dots and make your own spoon puppet at the always-stocked craft table (parent bonus: you don't have to clear it up when the kids are finished!). Discover is one of east London's best-kept secret venues for families; it's also a fantastic party venue.
Best for nursery and Reception kids
The indoor spaces, perfect for climbing, sliding, jumping and exploring (especially on a wet day). The outdoor playground is really imaginative too, with a boat and spaceship to captain and a climbing wall, slide and garden to let off steam in.
Special interactive baby sessions (ages 0 to 3) are organised regularly and a free Saturday morning club for children with disabilities / SEN and their families takes place every week (ages 5 to 11).
Best for KS1 kids
The frequent book-themed events, interactive performances and story-telling sessions, linked to craft activities and demonstrations.
Best for KS2 kids
The chance to meet children's authors and illustrators up close and personal in small-scale book signings (recent events include sessions with Lauren Child, creator of Charlie and Lola and Ruby Redfort, and Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo.
The amazing and immersive themed Story Studio exhibitions − your entrance ticket includes a time slot in the exhibition space, but pre-booking is recommended.
Previous exhibitions have featured spies, alien planets, magical winter landscapes, superhero cities and pirate galleons.
Half-term and holiday events for families
A packed schedule of activities is on offer during school holidays, from stop-motion photography workshops to children's literature festivals. Pre-book before you go to guarantee a place (events are prebookable Monday-Friday 10am-5pm on 020 8536 5555 and online at www.discover.org.uk; there is a £1 booking fee for all bookings and bookings cannot be taken on the day of the event) and remember to allow plenty of time for free play, putting on a puppet show and hide-and-seek in the garden, too.
Food and drink options
The on-site cafe sells drinks and snacks. You are welcome to bring your own food to consume outside (there are a few tables and chairs and a seating area available for a picnic in the garden) or in the indoor eating area.
Getting there, prices and opening hours
Discover is easily accessible on public transport, five minutes from Stratford underground station (Central and Jubilee lines), as well as DLR, Overground and main line services from and to Liverpool Street Station.
Open Tuesday to Friday (10am-5pm) and Saturday and Sunday (11am-5pm) and every day during the school holidays. Closed 24-26 December and 1 January.
Admission: £5 per person or £18 for a family of four; under 2s are free.
Pocket money shop purchases
Yes − the shop offers a good selection of pocket money buys as well as children's books.
Online treasures if you're too far to visit
StoryCloud is a free online story library from Discover, featuring twelve exclusive stories from award-winning and up-and-coming authors and children.
Links to the National Curriculum
Discover aims to support literacy, communication and thinking skills using creative play.
Photography: © Tim Mitchell, Discover © Jeff Moore, Discover
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