What to do if You Have One Weekend in Mayfair
If anyone heads to London, then skipping out on Mayfair is a travesty. With its chic restaurants, designer shops, and historical sights – Mayfair needs to make it on the weekend plans even if it’s just for one day. However, we recommend a solid weekend in Mayfair to truly enjoy the area.
In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the must-visit spots that help give a visitor the best value out of their time in Mayfair.
It can’t all be shopping so we’ve mixed it up to include key sights one should check out, and great food places worth booking a reservation for.
Sights, shops, and food – the best way to get a holistic taste of what life in Mayfair is like.
Handel Museum is best known for illustrating the life of composer George Frederic Handel. It used to be his place of residence, and later was also Jimi Hendrix’s home.
Visiting this museum entails getting a peek into their life while in Mayfair and Hendrix’s apartment has been recreated with artefacts from the period. With rooms adorned in hippie décor, the museum is a popular spot and attracts over 50,000 visits in a given year.
As one climbs up the 250-year-old stairs, each step is a step back in time. Witness the various music rooms where Handel composed his masterpieces and on the third floor immerse in the atmosphere of the 60s where Jimi lived and wrote music.
The Handel Museum is time well spent if one’s remotely interested in music and what London life was like in the olden days.
The next place to visit is the Royal Academy of Arts in Mayfair.
This academy has been the home for many artists to showcase their work for over 250 years. It’s mainly managed by elected artists who curate the various exhibitions that showcase work in the academy.
The academy is entirely funded by private artists and every summer it carries out an open-submission exhibition for any up and coming contemporary artist to submit and be chosen to have their work displayed in the academy.
Notable pieces one can find in the academy include work from renowned artists such as Tracey Emin, Dame Laura Knight, and Angelic Kauffman.
It’s an academy that has constantly pushed forward the visual arts medium in the U.K and is an important part of Britain’s art history.
Quaint and mesmerizing on a sunny afternoon, Berkeley Square is a people watcher’s dream. And it’s especially stunning during Autumn or Fall.
Open to the public all year long, the square was developed in 1789 by architect William Kent and is known as the centre of Mayfair. It’s near many other famous landmarks of Mayfair such as Lansdowne House and 50 Berkeley Square (supposedly the most haunted house in all of London).
It’s a large square with plenty of well-kept lawns for anyone to lie down, have a picnic, or doze off. The square is covered by the canopy of one of the oldest London Planetree trees that can be found in Central London.
With many galleries and cafés nearby, Berkeley Square is a beautiful place and an ideal way to spend the Saturday afternoon. If you fancy fine dining, make a stop at Benares for exceptional Indian cuisine with a contemporary British twist. Or try one of their unique cocktails at the lounge.
Near to Green Park, a park worth strolling through during the summer is Canada Gate.
Canada Gate was built over a century ago and bears the same design as those found on the gates lining Buckingham palace. It’s known as the ‘Canada’ gate due to it bearing the seven Canadian provinces and was gifted to London by Canada as a dedication to Queen Victoria’s passing in 1901.
It’s a wide entrance that opens into what’s known as Boardwalk, a gorgeous tree-lined park that’s great to spend an afternoon snagging some Instagram shots in.
Canada Gate is a stunning piece of work and if the main gate lining Buckingham Palace is too crowded, this one’s the next best option.
Avery Row is a happening street to stroll down due to the many popular spots that line it.
Be it shopping, dining, or entertainment – all the top establishments can be found on this street.
If there’s a street during the weekend that one needs to get acquainted with, then this is definitely the one and during the summer, cafés fill up and pour out onto the streets.
The joyful bustle is a sight to see and there are many boutique shops to pop into. While making your way through Avery Row, pay a visit to Shepherds Market, a little town with a town. It’s chock full of pubs, galleries, and more coffee shops – a hidden gem that’s worth the slight detour.
When the sights get a bit boring and the feet tire out, it’s time to shop! Here are some great shopping areas to check out while in Mayfair.
The aristocrats and royals of London back in the day would exclusively head to the Royal Arcade to get their shopping done. In fact, there are still some shops in the Arcade that were opened in the 1800s.
The Royal Arcade was the grandiose shopping mall of that time. With many shops all housed under one roof it was the perfect place for any Duke or Duchess to don the latest fashion, or pick up some jewellery to treat themselves.
The decor and architecture haven’t changed since the Victorian era and many of the shops’ interiors even kept the same look and feel to this day.
Fancy some Jimmy Choo or Louis Vuitton? Then Bond street is the next destination on the shopper’s list.
Lined with high-end designer brands, Bond street is where one can find international luxury brand showrooms such as Asprey, Bulgari, Mulberry, Tiffany & Co., and Dolce and Gabbana. It’s the street to be on if one’s looking for art, antiques, perfume, jewellery, and designer fashion.
The street is also home to some of London’s wealthiest and influential people. Famous authors and poets used to live on this street, and one’s chances of bumping into a celebrity or socialite looking to do a bit of shopping in the area are quite high.
Beyond luxury shopping, the street is also home to Claridge’s and The Ritz. Both are worth visiting for some scrumptious meals and as a casual stroll to view the luxurious interiors.
Savile Row is a street lined with bespoke tailor shops. There are even rumours the term ‘bespoke’ when applied to tailoring originated from this area as a way of indicating a suit cut and made by hand only.
The row got its reputation as a custom tailor area in 1846 when Henry Poole, the creator of the tuxedo, opened up a store here. Since then, it has gone on to house the showrooms for world-famous designers such as Richard James and Timothy Everest.
If one is looking to have any custom item of clothing made, specifically for men. This is the place to visit.
We recommend checking out the stores Huntsman & Sons, Henry Poole & Co., and Gieves and Hawkes.
A one-stop-shop, Fortnum & Mason is a great place for those looking to dabble in fine foods, experience high-tea, or just shop.
Built in 1707, the building houses five restaurants and an award-winning bar as well as an eclectic mix of stores catering to a Londoner’s various needs. If one is looking to shop some gifts to take back home Mayfair, then this store is the place to visit with some world-class hampers.
It’s been the destination for travellers and explorers to London for over 300 years and has even created teas solely for the royal family. A beautiful spiral staircase connects all the floors in the store. The first floor is where all the restaurants are located, and the 2nd floor houses the beauty, fashion, and fragrance departments. The third floor is where one can find some exquisite brands for men such as Oliver Spencer, Gurkha, and Paul Smith on the third floor.
Spend a few hours exploring here to get a true sense of regal British shopping.
A lot of shopping and sightseeing is no fun without some nice grub. So here are some delicious food establishments in Mayfair well worth a visit.
Benares is one of Mayfair’s best restaurants and could easily take the top spot. The restaurant offers a hybrid of Indian and British influenced cuisine.
Located a stone’s throw from Berkeley square, the restaurant is popular for using traditional British and Scottish ingredients in its Indian meals. Some popular items to try here include the Hiran Ki Boti – a meal made of new forest venison, cabbage puree, and biryani.
The name draws inspiration from India’s holy city of Benares and is without a doubt a fine-dining establishment. So dress to impress if looking to go here and most definitely try and make reservations.
Punch Bowl is director Guy Ritchie’s former bar. The director had bought the establishment before it swapped owners and as a result, it’s a popular watering hole for the celebrities and socialites in London.
Known for serving excellent cocktails and delicious finger food, the Punch Bowl holds its own amongst the many high-end restaurants in the area.
With timeless decor that reminds one of the 80s, it’s a great pub to visit and catch up with old friends.
For breakfast, Wolseley should be on one’s itinerary during the weekend. It’s gorgeous 1920s interiors and the curated breakfast menu is the perfect way to step back in time.
Known for its world-famous French pastries and viennoiseries, The Wolseley is an old Victorian restaurant that doesn’t disappoint! And with Buckingham Palace nearby it’s known to grace the occasional royal.
The establishment does serve for other occasions of the day but breakfast just happens to be what they are known for.
The Luggage Room could be Mayfair’s best-kept secret.
Opened in 2013, it’s a speakeasy bar located underneath the Marriot Hotel in Mayfair. During the afternoon, it doubles as a high-tea lounge and is popular amongst visitors.
Inspired by the 1920s prohibition era, its décor and menu reflect this theme with unique drink and food concoctions one can’t find elsewhere.
Started by famous chefs Richard Corrigan and Gregory Buda, Dickie’s bar was voted the world’s best bar in 2016 and it’s a great Irish whiskey cum late-night cocktails establishment.
Featuring famous cocktails with an Irish twist to them, the bar is full of surprises if one rolls the dice on the menu items. Ingredients are freshly sourced daily to help the bartenders whip up the drinks.
Dickie’s oozes an interesting style when it comes to its decor. Patrons sit on burnt leather stools in a shade of orange and can have either cocktails or order from their food and drink menu.
Trader Vic’s is the curveball we’ll throw into this list of food places in Mayfair. It’s all about South Sea dining and is a Polynesian themed restaurant.
The restaurant is most famous for its Mai Tai cocktail and guests here can send their taste buds on an adventure with its many Polynesian inspired menu items.
With live-music later on in the night and lots of seating, Trader Vic’s is a place worth checking out when looking for something more casual.
Mayfair is a wonderful stop to make if you’re in London. Between the scenic views and luxurious shops, it’s a must to spend at least one weekend there!
If you can’t stop by every destination we listed above, we’ve narrowed it down even further. For sightseeing, you have to go to the iconic Handel Museum – no questions asked. It’s also essential to stop by Berkeley Square for a nice, relaxing afternoon.
For shops, stroll along Bond street to get all your shopping done and make a detour to the Royal Arcade to take in the beautiful architecture from the Victorian era.
Our recommendation for food would be to head to The Wolseley for breakfast, Punch Bowl for lunch, and Benares for dinner. Either on the same day or on separate ones but these three food joints cannot be missed.
Enjoy your time in Mayfair! It’s surely a destination you’ll always cherish.