“Tove, wherever she is,” said Sophia Jansson, “Would be jumping up and joy for this.” After an hour’s wander through Adventures in Moominland, the launch event for the Southbank Centre’s Nordic matters, it’s difficult to argue the point. The months of painstaking work that have gone into creating a corner of Moominvalley in the heart of London have truly paid off.

It’s difficult to convey what’s been achieved here without a spoiler or two, but I’ll try my best. This is not an exhibition in the conventional sense; despite there being exhibits aplenty, there is no text and no labels. Instead, there is an audio narrative written by Laura Dockrill and voiced by Sandy Toksvig that perfectly captures the spirit of Tove Jansson’s stories, intertwined with more scene setting from the tour guide and a clever array of lighting and sound effects. The timings are absolutely flawless – the transition between recording to live is seamless.

Key environments from each of the books are mingled with aspects of Tove’s life, with secret passageways taking you from area to area. Moominvalley is revealed in its jungle phase and revisited shortly afterwards in the middle of a snowy winter night. A raft journey takes you to Klovharu, Jansson’s isolated island hideaway, and the arrival of a comet forces you to take shelter in a cave.

The different areas are realised in immaculate detail but are further enhanced by the inclusion of some genuine relics. It’s always a thrill to see a well-loved picture in the flesh, and sometimes a surprise to see just how tiny they are; in the days before digital manipulation, Tove Jansson drew many of her incredibly detailed pictures at the actual size they would appear in print. There are also plenty of preliminary sketches and some real treats such as her actual palette and her floral headpiece.

This could so easily have been a simple walk-through exhibition. Tove Jansson’s body of work is so engaging that even a simple wall of her pictures would entrance viewers of any age. Instead, curator Paul Denton and his team have worked some real magic and sneaked in a blockbuster event right at the end of a fairly baleful year.

It’s telling that the adult evening tours have already sold out until the start of March and once the reviews go out, tickets for this are going to be hard to come by. So get booking – you really, really do not want to miss this.