Mayfair, Mayfair, Mayfair. There’s a reason it’s nabbed the most prestigious position on the Monopoly board. The W1 postcode has long been a byword for exclusivity, with fine dining establishments and chic fashion outlets dominating the grand avenues and elegant rows of Georgian townhouses.
Be warned — a day hitting the streets in this part of town is probably going to heavy on the purse strings. But for those looking to indulge themselves, there’s nowhere on the planet that can outdo Mayfair (don’t worry — we’ve tried to track down some bargains for you too!).
Things to Do in Mayfair
London is famed for its green spaces, and Hyde Park is arguably the most glorious of them all. This 350 acre sweep of trees, lakes and picnic spots will soon have you forgetting you are in the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities. No matter which season you visit the capital in, Hyde Park will have something for everyone — from the utterly magical Winter Wonderland at Christmas time to the British Summer Time festivals in July, which plays host to some of the biggest names in pop. Even if you’re caught short on the events front, there’s no better place in London (dare we say the world?) to enjoy a cheap and cheerful picnic (who needs caviar and champagne when you’re in Mayfair, anyway — although by all means take these along if you really want to push the boat out.)
We can’t get away with writing an article on Mayfair without turning our attention to the retail therapy on offer. This is perhaps the most famous shopping spot in London, and nowhere is this more clear than a stroll down Oxford Street. Situated in the heart of London, and offering both the biggest names in fashion and some of the most exclusive and niche outlets in the country, there’ll be something here to satisfy every budget. Uniqlo and Topshop both have flagship stores on the street, and Selfridges also calls the street its home. Trust us when we say even window shopping is fun (even irresistible) around here. And hey, if you can navigate your way through the crowds (think Love Actually at Christmas…), then you’re well on your way to calling yourself a true London veteran.
For the culture vultures, the gorgeous Royal Academy is also a short distance away. Britain’s first art school is just as prestigious as you would imagine, showcasing international talent and the biggest names in the art world. While you’ll need to buy a ticket for the regular, heavyweight exhibitions, the John Madejski Fine Rooms boasts a wonderful range of great works and is free to the public. If you’re around for summer, the staple Summer Exhibition is one of the biggest calendar events in the capital, and has for centuries displayed the best works entered by the public (all for sale, by the way — if you’ve got tens of thousands to burn!)
Places to Eat in Mayfair
In an area known for its art, Sketch provides visitors with the opportunity to dine in style in a restaurant whose very identity has been conceived by artists. Quirky, kitsch, iconic; love it or hate it, Sketch is one of the capital’s most famous restaurants, and leaves a strong impression. The food is good, and draws inspiration from a range of global dishes, but deep down you know you’re really paying for the unique atmosphere — and paying quite a lot (we did warn you about Mayfair. ) Every evening, the establishment is transformed into a cocktail bar, adding another layer to this weird and wonderful London institution.
An elegant blend of past and present, Gymkhana is one of the biggest names in Indian cuisine in the country. Set in charming, club-like surroundings, the restaurant’s modern take on classic dishes make for a gorgeous gastronomic experience. As expected, Gymkhana is a little on the pricey side, but in terms of quality of atmosphere, service and food, it’s certainly proved worth it to the countless diners who do nothing but sing its praises.
Best Pubs in Mayfair
You can still find a few classic boozers in this upmarket part of town. Both The Iron Duke and The Duke of York offer shabby, dim, Victorian surroundings to enjoy while sipping an ale or two, as well as some comforting pub grub options.
But to round off a truly ‘Mayfair’ experience, then Claridge’s Bar is a real must. One of the best known hotels in London, the bar is arguably the jewel in the Claridge’s crown. Perfect cocktails served by impeccable staff in one of the most jaw-dropping settings in the world all guarantee that a drink in this establishment will leave lasting memories (and a lasting imprint on the bank account…).
Mayfair is fancy. Everyone knows that. But for Jake, dining in Little Social, a chic French bistro renowned by Londoners, takes fanciness to a new, astronomical level. Quiet, red leather booths provide an intimate setting for the most sophisticated cuisine on the planet. We know, we know, it’s another pricey one. But you’ve got to live a little in Mayfair — take the plunge and grab yourself a steak knife.
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Store Your Luggage in Mayfair
There’s a few options around here for stashing away cumbersome luggage, depending on where it is you most want to go. Our Mayfair Food Fayre StashPoint is open until 10pm every day and is comfortably situated midway between the Bond Street and Oxford Circus tube stations. For Selfridges and Hyde Park, we’d opt for our StashPoint at Mayfair Aesthetics and Beauty, a short walk from both landmarks.