Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A Children's Story Centre? Discovering Discover Stratford

Discover in Stratford has recently reopened after a major refit so we went along to see what it’s like. M has visited on a number of occasions before it closed, but it was my first visit. If you haven’t heard of it Discover Children’s Story Centre is a sort of interactive museum for children. It’s hard to describe because I’ve not been anywhere else like it. There are play areas, story sessions and a special exhibition all based around literacy.
Part of the Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss exhibition at Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford. Includes basketball hoops and croquet
"Oh the places you'll go"

Until September 2017 the basement has been transformed into The Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss. This is fantastic for any fans of Dr. Seuss, although if you are an adult you’ll need to find someone 11 or under to go with (best suited to age 7 and under). The 40 minute session starts with a reading from one of the books and then everyone is free to explore the world. The more you explore the more you find: walls that make music, fancy dress, croquet, magnets and activity sheets for older children are just a few of the activities. Even if your children aren't familiar with the stories they will have a good time.

Part of the Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss exhibition at Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford. Includes the Once-ler wagon, factory and truffula trees
Truffula Trees and the Once-ler factory
On the ground floor you will find the inside Story World and the outside Story Garden (aka a playground). In the Story World there is space to run around in the dry, read stories and get creative at activity tables. Go up the stairs near the garden and there is a space targeted for slightly older children.

We went on a sunny day so spent a good proportion of our time in the Garden. It has a great combination of areas to explore, equipment to climb and things to help inspire play such as a wooden taxi, a ship and a space ship. You can even get musical with a number of instruments. There are plenty of places to sit so you might want to grab a drink before you head out there incase you are persuaded to stay a while.
The Story Garden at Discover Children's Story Centre visible are a monster slide, climbing wall and pirate ship
The Story Garden
On the first floor along with the rest of Story World is the location for the Toddler Dr. Seuss sessions. These story telling sessions are aimed at children 3 and under. The story changes every couple of months. We went to “Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You?” and from 29th September you can hear “Scrambled Eggs Super!”. The Story Builders read the story to small groups sitting on cushions, encouraging interaction and then giving you time to discuss the story with your children.
One of the Story Builders at Discover Stratford in the toddler Dr Seuss session with a baby sitting in front of her

How to get to Discover Stratford

There are great public transport links to Stratford and Discover is just a short walk from the bus and train station. If arriving by train walk through the bus station to the High Street. You’ll find it next door to the Magistrates Court. Parking isn't easy, but is possible in the Stratford Shopping Centre car park or if you fancy more of a walk you could park at Westfield.

What else do you need to know?


  • You can’t take pushchairs in, but they have space for you to leave them. They also have free lockers so you don't have to carry coats and bags around.
  • There is a small shop with books and some toys, if you want to avoid this make sure you leave via the double doors near the stairs and don't go through the cloakroom area.
  • There are toilets (including a number of child size ones) and nappy changing facilities.
  • There is a cafe on the 1st floor serving food including salad, sandwiches, sweets and cake as well as a range of hot and cold drinks (proper coffee!). 
  • Check in advance on the website for the session times and book on to save disappointment. Monday to Thursday they have sessions for schools during the day so the main exhibition isn’t available until 3.15pm. Fridays, weekends and school holidays there are more sessions available.
  • There are special sessions in school holidays and throughout the year so have a look at their website for what is coming up.
  • An annual pass is great value if you live locally as you will want to go back time and time again. A day pass for a family is £22 or it’s £6.50 a person (under 2’s are free and Newham residents get a discount).
We are annual pass members after I supported the improvement work on Crowdfunder. I wanted to support the centre after hearing all the positive feedback from friends and family who have visited in the past. I was not asked to write this review and all thoughts are my own.

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3 comments

  1. looks like a fantastic day out x #HMcapturingmoments

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  2. This looks AMAZING! Miss H loves books and we are on a direct train line to Stratford so will definitely be popping along for a visit. Thank you so much for linking up to #HMcapturingmoments x

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  3. What a lovely day! This is one of my favourite places and you have just reminded me that it has reopened! I love it and am so excited about seeing the refurbishment (I followed their progress quite closely on twitter)! It is a bit of a trek for us to get to but it is worth it. The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss sounds incredible! Have you ever been to Seven Stories in Newcastle? It is very similar and definitely worth a visit if you are ever around that way! #HMcapturingmoments

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