Frequently Asked Questions about visiting Discover
What is Discover?
We are a place where children and their families can enjoy playing, learning and making up stories together.
Everyone who visits gets to play in our two floors of Story Worlds, and our Story Garden. These are magical spaces to help kids’ imaginations run wild. Our Story Builders pop up throughout the day to tell stories, sing songs and help little ones play, create and imagine. Your Session Pass will give you access to these spaces.
When you visit Discover, you can also add on additional events to your booking – these can include Storytelling Sessions for different ages, special events with authors and illustrators, and our spectacular, themed Immersive Exhibitions, where stories are brought even more amazingly to life – these change once each year.
We also have a Bookshop and a Café.
When is the quietest time to come?
We are quietest midweek during term time, our OFF-PEAK sessions. On these days you get to play all day too, although one floor of our Story Worlds will sometimes be closed for an hour or so, for school visits. If you want a day without schools, Fridays are just for families. If you want extra-quiet days, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are best.
If you can only come on a PEAK day, we are generally a bit less busy in the afternoon and on very hot and sunny days. And rainy days are always the most busy!
What is PEAK and OFF-PEAK?
PEAK days are weekends and school holidays (based on the Newham school holiday calendar). We are always busier on these days. Sessions are 3 hours and 15 minutes long, from 10am to 1.15pm or from 1.45pm to 5pm.
OFF-PEAK days are midweek, term-time. These are always quieter. Sessions are all day, 10am – 5pm.
PEAK tickets are the same price as OFF-PEAK tickets, but you get more time OFF-PEAK.
Why do you run PEAK and OFF-PEAK days?
We know that people appreciate it when Discover isn’t too busy – so we’re keeping limits on visitor numbers on our busier PEAK days. Running two sessions of 3 hours allows us to do this.
On OFF-PEAK days Monday-Friday we are much less busy, and so we let visitors play all day. We also sometimes have schools visiting in the morning Monday-Thursday and close one floor of the Story Worlds for their visit for a couple of hours (it’s nicer to keep older school kids and our little weekday visitors separate as we know they like different kinds of play).
This is a new system for us and we are monitoring how it works. If you have thoughts be sure to fill in the survey we send you after your visit, to let us know.
How do I decide when to come and what to book?
There are two ways to plan your Discover visit, it depends whether you know what dates you might want to come on or if you want to browse all events:
- To start with dates: On the homepage, click the ‘Build your Session Pass’ tab. On the calendar you can then choose different dates for an overview of events on that day, including whether they’re sold out. Once you’ve found the date you want, click the ‘start building my session pass’ button at the bottom, and you can select your times, events and tickets.
- To browse all events: If you want to see an overview of events, visit the Things to See and Do page and scroll down to ‘Events and Exhibitions’. You can see everything we have coming up, and also filter events by things like age or school holiday period. When you click on an event, you’ll then have an option to see best availability and book tickets directly from the event page.
How far in advance do you put tickets on sale?
During the pandemic we limited how far in advance we sold tickets, because we didn’t know when we would be open!
We’ve been increasing this now – and we will always have at least 6 weeks of tickets on sale, usually more.
How can I be the first to find out when new events go on sale?
Do you have any Covid safety measures in place?
What we’re doing
- We continue to wipe down the high use areas at the end of each day and regularly wash the costumes from the play areas
- We have increased ventilation in the centre – doors and windows are kept open wherever possible, and we have fresh air exchange systems in our basement exhibition space and second floor event and storytelling spaces.
- Quick entry systems and additional buggy storage to avoid crowding at the entrance.
- Hand wash and sanitiser stations are available to help everyone keep their hands extra clean.
- We continue to offer credits and refunds in the event of closure or cancellation, so you can book in advance with confidence.
What we’re asking our visitors to do
- If you can, book tickets in advance so we can anticipate numbers for each day. Tickets can be bought online here or over the phone on 020 8536 5555.
What about food and drink?
You can find out more about our café here.
You are also welcome to bring your own food – we always have spaces where you can eat, both inside and in the garden.