Many of us have fond memories of Tove Jansson’s whimsical Moomin stories from our own childhoods. And if they aren’t already on your children’s radar, they soon will be – especially if they have been watching the new Moominvalley television series (launched in 2019), voiced by Kate Winslet and Rosamund Pike. (See the trailer for Moominvalley here)
1. The Woman Who Fell in Love With an Island at the Walthamstow Wetlands, London
Whilst we may not be able to make it to Finland this summer, thankfully Walthamstow Wetlands have stepped in to offer us a little slice of Finnish magic with their freshly opened Moomin trail.
Entitled The Woman Who Fell in Love With an Island, the show focuses on artist and writer artist Tove Jansson, creator of the whimsical Moomin characters, and her love of island living. Through an indoor exhibition of prints and video in the main engine house, plus a Moomin-spotting walking trail that guides you around the beautiful wetlands area, the show plays on parallels between the Finnish archipelagos where Jansson found her creative inspiration and the scenery at Walthamstow Wetlands – which is Europe’s largest urban wetlands and has eight islands of its own. The concept might sound like a long shot but it actually really works and you’ll soon feel transported to a world far removed from its city surroundings.
It’s a lovely way to connect with the iconic Moomin books, a good excuse for a family walk in nature. Bring a picnic or there’s a little café onsite, plus a well stocked gift shop.
>> The Woman Who Fell in Love With an Island Exhibition and Trail Entrance is free and the trail runs until June 2022.
2. Moomin World in Turku, Finland
We visited Moomin World for the first time this summer, and came away certain that it’s the most enchanting theme park in the world! The park is set on a private island just off the coast of Naantali, without a rollercoaster in sight. Instead, the emphasis is on imaginative play, with a five-floored Moomin playhouse, a barefoot nature trail and children’s beach, plus lots of theatre shows and Moomin characters wandering around the park. You can visit Snufkin’s camp in the forest for story time and eat Moomin Mama’s tasty meatballs out on the restaurant deck overlooking a picturesque lake.
Moomin World is a really magical place to spend a long weekend with the family and relatively easy to get to from the UK, with Turku airport less than 30 minutes by car from the park. The nearby Naantali Spa hotel is within walking distance of the park and has Moomin themed family rooms. Should you want to venture further afield for your Moomin fix, there is also a Moominvalley Park which opened in Hanno City, Japan, in March 2019.
>> Moomin World Turku’s summer season runs from the beginning of June until late August.
3. The Silja Line Moomin Weekend Cruise in Helsinki, Stockholm
The Moomin themed cruises leave Helsinki every Friday evening, on-board the Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony boats. You’ll be met by a host of Moomin characters, there’s an augmented reality Moomin app for gamers, and a Moomin disco in the evening, plus each boat has 10 special Moomin decorated family cabins. On the Saturday you will arrive in Stockholm and have the day to explore, before cruising back to Helsinki overnight, arriving on Sunday morning. It’s a good way to see two great cities over a long weekend, while indulging in some Moomin related fun! During Finnish school holidays the Moomins are also onboard the cruises everyday of the week.
For one weekend in December, there is also a Moomin-extravaganza cruise, with back to back activities including Moomin parades, face painting, dancing and singing with all the Moomin characters and fairytales with Too-Ticky.
>> The annual Great Moomin Cruise starts from 140 Euros for B class cabin sleeping 4 people (meals not inclusive)
4. The Moomin Shops in London, UK
London now has two shops entirely devoted to all things Moomin. The Covent Garden shop is home to a plethora of quirky products, including a stylish satchel shaped as Tove Jansson’s first ever Moomin picture book. There’s also a nice range of baby grows, soft toys and their best-selling Moomin LED light. The shop is right in the centre of Covent Garden market, just around the corner from The Transport Museum and a wealth of restaurants, should you wish to make a day of it.
The Camden Market store is a more recent addition and is home to over 3000 Moomin branded items, with a focus on homeware. There is a wide choice of Moomin bedding and tableware, plus the collectible Arabia mugs. The store is very design savvy, having been created by Magnus Englund, who previously co-founded the Scandinavian-chic store, Scandium.
5. Moomin Museum in Tampere, Finland
As home to the only Moomin museum in the world, Tampere is a mecca for Moomin fans. The museum opened in its new space in 2017 and is home to 2,000 items including original illustrations, models and the jewel of the collection – the five-storey miniature Moominhouse built by Tove Jansson and her partner. Every weekend there are free guided tours of the museum in English, and a studio space for visitors to create their own Moomin artworks.
In April 2019, the museum will be opening a new exhibition showcasing the history of Moomin animations. Moomin Animations – Thrills and Cuddles is a celebration of 60 years of Moomin tales on TV. The exhibition will also look at the history of animation, including a peek at the latest Moominvalley TV production, highlighting the vast amount of work done by top professionals before a brief 22 min episode is ready to roll.
>> Moomin Museum costs Adults 12 euros, children 6 euros.
6. The Moomin Cafes in Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is home to four different Moomin Cafes, serving up locally produced dishes in Nordic-chic surroundings. If your kids like Moomins, they will adore these quirky, Moomin-tastic cafes. There are Moomin characters sprinkled onto drinks, food is served on Moomin plates, the biscuits are Moomin shaped, you can have a Moomin tea party with the various toys dotted around the café, or relax in the reading corner with a book – by Tove Jansson, naturally!
There is also talk of a Moomin café opening in London in 2019, so watch this space.