10 magical places to find under-5s storytelling in London!

Spoken-word storytelling (also known as “traditional oral storytelling”) is one of the best ways to help your little one enjoy and master language… but that’s not why it’s so popular! It’s also a magical shared experience… an opportunity to take flight into imagined worlds alongside your child. Storytelling for small people is usually a relaxed affair with lots of sensory participation and music to help everyone join in.

Back in 2018-19 we were asked to create under-threes storytelling sessions for for Time Out in The London Eye of all places! Not the most obvious place to do a storytime but they were hugely popular. Doing the events made me wonder what other storytelling provisions there are for tiny Londoners and so I asked around and did my research and here’s what I came up with.

If I have missed your session out, let me know and I will post updates!

1)Beanstalk Arts 

(SE London) Storytelling and cello with Boris the Bird. Run by the wonderful Becky Dixon. Regular classes on Tuesday Thursday and Friday for under-fives. These are VERY popular you can book a one-off or a whole term in advance, details here.

2) The Horniman Museum

(Forest Hill) No matter when you check in you will find some kind of storytelling for everyone and especially  lots of stories aimed at a younger crowd (often featuring our brilliant storytelling collaborator Grethe Jensen from Sandal Sticks) as well as lots of other sessions around special collections and tales for adults! Have a look at their calendar here.

3) Royal Albert Hall

(Kensington) Storytelling and Music sessions for under-fours run by some of our favourite storytellers. Check upcoming dates here.

4) The Polka Theatre

(Wimbledon) This little theatre is a champion of traditional storytelling. As well as interactive storytelling-themed events, they run regular a “Sunday Stories” with various well known and fantastic professional tellers from around the world. I loved telling stories there! Although these are aimed at all ages, they often get lots of smaller children.

5) Southbank Centre

(SE1) Many storytelling and story-themed events for under-fives, often with a large musical component. During their regular Imagine Festival in February they shift into full-storytelling gear with a diverse collection of tellers and events. Keep your eyes on this page here.

6) National Gallery Magic Carpet Storytelling

2-5s. This is a wonderful session is inspired by some of the greatest paintings in the collection. Often features our storytelling friends Emily Hanna and Olivia Armstrong. Fly away on a magic carpet, dates here.

7) Gunnersbury Park Museum

(Ealing) “Little Flamingoes” sessions usually on a Wednesday morning, check their website for details. You might well find our very own George Hoyle or our storytelling mate Holly Dabbs. An hour of storytelling and activities for small people in a gorgeous Georgian building surrounded by a beautiful park!

8) London’s local libraries

(Local to you!) Check out your local borough library! Most libraries have a rhyme time story and singing session run by the librarian and many have a much wider storytelling programme too. There are often storytelling events there as part of special celebrations like  the Summer Reading Challenge and Black History Month and they are very often FREE!

9) Discover Childrens Story Centre

(Stratford) Colourful, friendly and professional sessions generally based on or inspired by books… Often run by Discover’s own “story-builders”. They also host book-themed birthday parties. Loads of sessions for 0-3s and 2-5s! Check out their calendar here.

10. London Dreamtime

(Across London and beyond) Magical, musical interactive stories for tiny people in some of the most beautiful spaces in London… (didn’t think I’d leave this out did you!?) Although we are best known for our adventurous storytelling nights for adults, we also have loads of storytelling events for tiny ones. Have a look on our calendar to see what’s coming up. We also do interactive storytelling for baby-birthday parties and special events!

As always, if you are stuck, you can always consult the Society for Storytelling who have lists of clubs, tellers and events here!