It is often said that the most marvelous places are discovered by accident. That has certainly been my experience, and was very much the case on the occasion that I discovered The Moomin Shop in Covent Garden.
I was lost, trekking around Covent Garden on an (sadly, unsuccessful) hunt for a particular shop I had visited the last time I was in London.
In my efforts to track down this elusive shop I instead found myself in Covent Garden Market, an area of Covent Garden I had never actually explored before, which was in hindsight a real shame.
As I quickly discovered, the market has a lot to offer. Covent Garden Market is a great shopping spot in London, boasting an array of buskers, food stalls, alluring boutiques, jewelery stalls and a colourful variety of gift shops. Not least one very special gift shop, dedicated to a very beloved family of Finnish trolls…
There have been hundreds of classic children’s books that have earned the love of children and adults alike over the world. But there are few which have seen such longevity and worldwide adoration as Tove Jansson’s The Moomins.
Beginning publication in Finland in 1945, the adventures of the Moomintroll family and their colorful group of friends and neighbors have delighted readers old and young for more than half a century.
Now published in more than 40 different languages, The Moomins continue to hold on to a strong worldwide appeal even now, and this love and affection is felt no less strongly here in the UK.
I have to be honest. When I first came in to contact with The Moomins, in the form of a dubbed cartoon screened on Children’s TV, I didn’t quite ‘get it’. Having grown up on a diet of colourful Disney movies and loud, bawdy cartoons, the rather slow, dreamy pace of the tales of Moomintroll and his family didn’t quite fit in with what I had come to expect from animations.
I also found the cartoons ‘strange’ and even a little ‘eerie’ in places; indeed, the stories can be quite melancholic at times, likely echoing the own emotions and difficult times of its author Tove Jansson..
However, as a teenager and adult, I slowly began to understand the appeal of the works. There is a definite warm, reassuring charm to The Moomins; a comforting sense of family, and a very heartfelt celebration of the wonders of everyday life, and the joys and pleasures it brings.
While I still have yet to read Tove Jansson’s works for myself, there is undeniably still something I find quite charming and endearing about these strange little creatures, and the fictional world that they reside in.
The Moominshop in Covent Garden is literally one of the last shops you will pass as you exit Covent Garden. It is hard to miss however due to its eye-catching bright blue doorway, and Moomintroll sign swaying cheerfully next to the open doorway.
Upon first entering the shop, you are immediately struck by the sense of having entered a little world all of its own. I now know from the Covent Garden website that the entrance and stairway is purposely designed to recreate the Moomin Valley. Which, even to someone who was rather oblivious to the design reference at the time, was pretty awesome.
To get to the actual gift shop itself you have to climb up a small, winding staircase, admiring the colourful illustrations of the Moomin Forest as you make your way up the stairs, while Moomintroll floats contentedly above you on a cloud, and a grinning Little My hangs from an umbrella.
After passing a small recreation of the Moomin Cave, you enter the shop itself.
The shop appears to sell every kind of Moomin good you could think of. Want a Moomins baby-grow? It’s here. A Moomins Laptop case? A Little My tea-towel? A Moomin Papa thermometer? You can also find them here. You are simply spoilt for choice.
It sells way beyond your bog-standard character stationary, magnets or sweets you would expect – although it certainly has those too. It appears to have simply every Moomin-themed item imaginable, and produced in a lovely quality too.
What particularly caught my eye was a shelf of lovely tin and china Moomins mugs, plates and coasters, which were produced in a wide variety of designs, and were simply gorgeous. In addition to this I was also rather taken by a really beautiful little blue snowglobe, which was very pretty.
I didn’t buy anything at the time as I will be in Japan in less than two weeks, and have been trying to save my money in preparation for that. I do have a suspicion however that I may have to weaken and purchase the snow globe the next time I am in Covent Garden.
The shop can be found at 43 Covent Market, and is open all days of the week from 10.00 – 8.00, although it closes a little earlier on a Sunday.
The market is a short walk from Covent Garden Tube station, which can be reached by walking along James St as you exit the station.
It is a really lovely little store, so if you are a Moomin fan who is visiting London and want to know where you can buy Moomin-related goods then this is the place!
What are your favourite shops in Covent Garden? Do let me know in the comments!
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