Named after an annual two week long fair that took place every May between 1686 and 1764 in the Shepherd Market area, Mayfair has long been one of the most affluent areas of London. Mayfair is known for its proximity to Hyde Park, it’s world-famous fashion shopping that can be found on Saville Road and prestigious afternoon teas at Claridges.
There are many reasons why expats choose to move to Mayfair, amongst them are the proximity to some of the finest high-end shops and boutiques, the decadent houses and historical and cultural landmarks.
In this article, we examine some of the less written about attractions of Mayfair.
Self-proclaimed as “The World's Greatest Surf and Turf”, Beast Restaurant on Chapel Place in Mayfair is a meat-lover's dream come true. Beast serves some of the finest selections of beef, crab and lobster that you are likely to find in London. The decor is inspired by the Arctic fisherman huts used by those that caught the seafood on the menu and made even more atmospheric by the candlelit long tables and complemented with an exceptional wine selection.
For a very different dining experience to Beast, try Cecconi’s in Burlington Gardens, Mayfair. Under the watchful eye of manager Giacomo Maccioni, who has been at Cecconi’s since 1990, Cecconi’s serves classic Venetian dishes in an elegant setting. This famous Italian restaurant is known to be a favourite amongst the affluent local residents and celebrities that are passing through London. Cecconi’s has sibling eateries around the world in cities such as Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Istanbul.
A short walk from Cecconis is the Royal Academy of Arts. With a history that can be dated back to 1768 this gallery, museum and art institution has been championing the finest artists from all over the world since its formation and is home to Britain’s longest established art school, the RA Schools. Each summer the Royal Academy of Arts hosts the world’s largest open submission art exhibition, as well as having an ever revolving programme of exhibitions and events. Many of the exhibitions are free to enter, although pre-booking is advised, some special events and talks are ticketed and come with a small charge that helps fund the Academy.
Two very different musicians lived a wall, and 200 years, apart on Brook Street. The Handel and Hendrix museum celebrates the lives of the cultural icons that lived at 25 and 23 Brook Street, respectively. Although George Frideric Handel lived in the house for 36 years, Jimi Hendrix’s stay was much shorter - from July 1968 to March 1969, however Hendrix once described the apartment as “my first real home of my own”. The Handel section comprises four rooms including the composer’s bedroom and the dining room in which he often gave informal recitals for friends, as well as rehearsing with musicians.
During the initial process of moving to Mayfair many choose to stay in a nearby hotel. Either while house hunting or as alternative accommodation while decorating or having work done on the new home, staying in a hotel is a good way of staying local as short term rentals are hard to come by. Thankfully Mayfair has some of the most luxurious hotels in the city.
One of the hotels that often come to mind when thinking of Mayfair is the prestigious Goring Hotel on Beeston Place and is reportedly London’s last remaining family-owned luxury hotel. The Goring Hotel was used by various foreign royals during the coronation ceremony in 1953 and is still being used by royals today, having been the accommodation of choice for the Duchess of Cambridge before her wedding in 2011.
Flemings Hotel on Half Moon Street in Mayfair is another one of the city’s oldest hotels and is one of the very few privately owned hotels in London. Flemings offers 129 luxurious rooms, suites and a small handful of one, two and three bed apartments. In true Mayfair fashion, the Flemings Hotel comprises thirteen Georgian townhouses, the soul of which can be felt throughout the hotel.
Known as the original department store, the historic Burlington Arcade is home to some of the most prestigious names in jewellery, fashion and perfume. One of the iconic features of Burlington is the Beadle guards that enforce rules such as the banning of whistling, humming and singing in the arcade. There are only two living people that have special singing privileges, these are Sir Paul McCartney and the head Beadle’s nephew, Jayden.
When stepping through the door to Hedonism Wines on Davies Street, Mayfair you instantly realise that you are in the best possible place for wines and spirits. With over 3000 different bottles in stock, there is a very high chance that you will find the perfect drink for the occasion. Hedonism Wines also offer private tasting events as well as a personal shopping experience that will allow you to have a sommelier or liquor specialist guide you around the shop to help you find the perfect bottle.
Just around the corner from Hedonism Wines is Mount Street, another fashion boutique hot spot and affluent shopping destination. Be sure to visit during one of their special events, the likes of which are often organised in collaboration with Vogue and Frieze Art Fair. If you are excited about the Frieze Art Fair coming to nearby Regent’s Park (usually every October), then you will also be wanting to visit Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses, both of which are Mayfair institutions.
Aside from the aforementioned destinations, Mayfair has a lot to offer its affluent residents and visitors and there are countless numbers of boutiques, shops, hotels, restaurants and bars that we will update later in this guide. The Georgian townhouses, the architecture and the exuberantly decadent hotels all make the W1 area one of the most enticing areas of London.
Click here to find out more about Cadogan Tate’s specialist Mayfair removals service.