As the first UK retrospective dedicated to Tove Jansson – the creator of the famous Moomin stories and illustrations – opens this week at Dulwich Picture Gallery, we’ve found the best spots in the capital where you can get a sprinkling of Moomin magic.
Giant badger sett at Kew Gardens
The portly Moomin trolls bed down in the winter months to hibernate. Get a taste of what it’s like to kip beneath the soil by wandering through the giant badger sett at Kew Gardens. It’s made just wide enough for human feet to pass through, so you can clamber through the warren of tunnels connecting food stores, sleeping chambers and nests. Kew Gardens. £14, £13 concs.
Alexandra Palace boating lake
Open the pages of any of Jansson’s Moomin books and you’ll notice the cuddly clan are forever sailing around in boats. Have a float yourself on Ally Pally’s boating lake, which is open for boats rides until November. Make your way across the lake in a swan, a dragon or a VW Beatle, or pick a traditional rowing boat if you really fancy a workout. Alexandra Palace. £4.95, £3.95 child for a 30 minute ride.
The plucky snow-white creatures are forever jumping in and out of pools and streams in bucolic settings. While you may not live in a Finnish fantasy land, you can still have some waterborne fun of your own at Hampstead Heath’s swimming ponds, which are open all year round for intrepid Londoners to dive into. There are three pools, including separate ladies’ and men’s pools, to freeze your gonads off in. Hampstead Heath. Open year-round. £2, £1 concs.
Frolic in picturesque fields of wildflowers – like the ones surrounding the Moomins’ famous blue house – at the London Wetland Centre. The 105-acre wildlife haven has its own sustainable meadow filled with crowds of cheerful flowers. Stroll through the blooms and admire the pastoral scenes, beautiful enough to rival any view from the Moomins’ gaff. London Wetland Centre. £12.26, £9.17-£6.75 concs.
Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is on at Dulwich Picture Gallery until Jan 28 2018. £15.50, £7-£14.50 concs.
Images: RBG Kew, City of London Corporation