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We check into a hotel run by bears and penguins for Discover Children's Story Centre's immersive show

If you’ve ever wondered how it feels to climb inside a child’s imagination, Discover Children’s Story Centre is it, and its new show, The 100 Story Hotel is a lovingly created world of immersive storytelling, created with bestselling author, Rob Biddulph.

The Stratford, London gem is the Willy Wonka Factory of books and in its basement lurks a brand new hotel, with a polar bear concierge, penguin porters and guests including lions, dinosaurs and tigers.

We were greeted by Clive the concierge and discovered that a story unfolds behind every door. But there is a big problem - one of its 100 stories has gone missing.

Children are presented with magnifying glasses and clipboards and dispatched to explore the hotel and follow clues to solve the mystery.

There are multiple rooms - filled with everything from pirate ships and treasure chests to worlds within rooms, via tiny doors - as well as a sushi restaurant, beach with juice bar, tennis courts, octopus-run laundry room and Zorg’s toy Emporium.

We challenge you to find a child between from 0 to 8 (or parents) who won’t run riot in this deliciously surreal ‘hotel,’ testing their roars on the ‘growlometer' unleashing dogs from the tree for walkies, throwing penguin eggs, exploring fancy dress, buying letters from the alphabet vending machine or pulling rabbits from hats.

Like the best holidays, it left kids wanting more after the big reveal, when they joined forces with the actor and solved the mystery.

The award-winning author behind the experience is better known to most parents for his brilliant Draw With Rob sessions, helping everybody get through lockdown with his famous draw-alongs. He will host a free (with entry pass) drawing session at the centre on 7 May from 1 - 1.40pm.

Before you check into the hotel, there are two other floors to explore during your two-hour session as well as the new, Story Garden.

Creep through caves, find fairy worlds within magical trees, explore hidden ships, perform in a puppet castle, leap over alligators and man your own spaceships and rockets across two floors, which also host art and craft stations, beautiful reading corners, storytelling sessions, immersive events and installations.

Or head outside to the magical new play area to discover Baba Yaga’s hut held up by chicken legs, climb Hootah’s castle and slide out of the Stratford Sputnik.

Each session lasts two hours and there is far too much to do in this time - we found ourselves dragging our kids out of spaceships to explore enchanted castles in our allotted time. But luckily, tickets are insanely priced at just £3 for The 100 Story Hotel experience; £8 for an adult or child (from 2 years plus) session pass or £2.50 for kids under 2.

It is London’s shiniest, hidden gem for children and we’re baffled that more people aren’t in on the story.

Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High St, London E15 4QZ. 

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