Tea and Tattle with Arthur Probsthain bookshop is a great idea for "after" or "before" the visit to the British Museum. It prepares you to enter its world or helps you to keep the atmosphere of it.
Great Russell Street is not only the address of the rich in treasures British Museum but also to some smaller but still spectacular spaces. Among different bookshops located on that street, there is Tea and Tattle which includes an independent oriental bookshop and gallery, established by Arthur Probsthain in 1903, and a cosy tea room.
I was very pleased when after two unsuccessful attempts of visiting the place, I completed third with success. When I finally saw the place opened, I felt goose bumps of excitement. I finally could enter to the little oriental world of books as well as see the tea room. Once I got there, I felt I wanted to stay there for long ... really long, as I could look through almost every book separately. This bookshop sells titles about Asia, especially China and India, Middle East or Africa and anywhere else which fits into the definition of oriental world. You can get new books as well as second hand gems.
There are various choices in literature, economics, history and languages. From the last category you can purchase course to learn Malay or Hausa. I purposefully do not recommend you any particular title as there are many to choose and everyone is going to find something for themselves. If you would like rather an academic title, you can visit another site of Arthur Probsthain in School of Oriental and African Studies Russell Square not a long way from Tea and Tattle. There is also a range of handcraft like bracelets, wallets and necklaces made by a group of young people from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All of them are great idea for a gift.
Apart from that, it is worthy to look out for the little exhibition held in the bookshop. Current one is about Zanzibar and includes some painting from this vibrant and colourful island. The previous ones covered, among others, modern Ghanian art by Francis Amoah and Islamic calligraphy.
When you want to take a break from looking through the books, you can go downstairs to indulge yourself with some treats. From the world of tea you can choose among Chinese Lapsang, Indian Assam, Taiwanese Oolong and others. There are also different tempting types of sandwiches or if you come with a friend you can choose one of afternoon tea sets which offer sandwiches, scones, hot drink or smoothie and a cake. Every set is accompanied by homemade lemonade. With all that goodies, your mind will definitely take you for a nice trip further away from London.