Top 20 Things to do in Mayfair London
Mayfair is a must-visit area when in London. With a reputation of being one of the most affluent areas, this is reflected by the swanky restaurants, bars, and designer shops it has to offer. With plenty of things to do and the odd celebrity you might cross paths with – there’s never a dull moment in Mayfair.
So how can one get the most out of their visit to Mayfair? Luckily, we’ve compiled the 20 best things to do in Mayfair. Read on to find out more:
One of the most rewarding but straightforward activities in Mayfair is to take a leisurely stroll across some key areas. The trio worth checking out are Avery Row, Lancashire Court, and Brook’s Mews.
These little lanes are chock full of shops, restaurants, and cafes to check out and it’s a great way to get acquainted with the area.
Spend a good amount of time here as there are many landmarks discussed in the rest of this guide that is also within these key spots.
Named after famous composer, George Frederic Handel, the Handel Museum is where he lived from 1723 to 1759. At 25 Brook Street, this building now houses a museum of his famous works and walks you through his journey in life.
The same address was also home to Jimi Hendrix who lived there as a rising star, and the museum features exhibits dedicated to his time living in Mayfair.
A great visit for anyone looking to see what home life was like back in the 1700s or loves the music both these legends made!
Located on Albemarle Street, the Royal Institution of Great Britain was built to further the practice of scientific education and research.
Spanning two centuries, it’s home to many traditions such as the yearly Christmas Lectures where famous guests from around the world lecture on various topics. Open to the public, anyone can access the many books stored here dating back to 1799 and attend the various events it hosts throughout the year.
Pairing science should be a healthy balance of arts. As a result, hop over to the Royal Academy of Arts located in Piccadilly. This academy has funded many artists over the past 250 years and is known for their annual Summer Exhibition each year featuring open-submission work from up and coming contemporary artists.
Furthering the world of visual arts since the 1700s, this institution is a must visit to get a taste of Britain’s art scene today and in the past.
A hidden gem of activity is visiting the world-famous Sotheby’s or Christie’s auction sites while in Mayfair. Many do not know that it’s even possible for members of the public to view some of the items to be auctioned before the official auction date. These are open exhibitions, and one can check the schedule on the respective auction house sites. Get a sneak peek into various items before they are sold off and hidden in private collections.
If the timing doesn’t work out and there are no upcoming exhibitions, it’s still worth the trip to explore the building, and within Sotheby’s there’s also a café serving breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea that’s well worth the visit.
A visit wouldn’t be great without a picnic, and luckily Berkeley Square with its picturesque setting is a great spot. The square is also located near some famous landmarks such as the Lansdowne House at No. 57 which was home to three British prime ministers, and At No. 50 one can find the most haunted house in London as well.
A quaint town square lined with large plane trees shadowing the well-maintained grassy patches. Here, birds chirp throughout the day and one can wander along its many paths to find the perfect setting for a summer picnic. After you’ve taken in the scenery, stop by Benares for lunch or dinner. The fine-dining establishment serves exquisite Indian food with a British twist that you’re sure to love.
If Berkeley gets boring, the infamous Hyde Park is very close by. Adjoining Mayfair, this park is home to many famous London attractions such as the Serpentine Lake and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
Take a break on their benches and people watch for a bit, pack a frisbee and throw it around in this expansive park. One can kill hours here and it’s worth packing into the itinerary, even if it’s not technically within ‘Mayfair’.
All these things to do can be exhausting so why not relax a bit and get pampered by visiting the famous Harrods Wellness Clinic. On the fourth floor of Harrods, this facility is purpose-built to relax the mind, body, and soul.
With fourteen spa rooms and two personal training rooms, this facility is a perfect spa escape for those looking to rejuvenate in luxury. Housing resident experts and a comprehensive set of treatments to choose from, it’s definitely worth the prices and lives up to its reputation as the world’s first clinic to offer an integrated approach to wellness and beauty.
If all this seems overwhelming, then join a walking tour to hit all these highlights with a well-versed guide. Mayfair has many free and paid walking tours; these tours are immersive and take you through most of the highlights in the area, as well as hidden gems that are off the beaten path.
For example, FreeToursByFoot offers knowledgeable guides that can speak about history in various parts of Mayfair. Get well versed on the famous celebrity watering holes, crazy stories about the royal family, and great eateries to visit.
The walking tours can be as short or long as you desire, operating on a hop-on or hop-off format. In the end, although labeled as a free walking tour, one can tip them for their service, and it’s highly recommended as that’s how the guides earn a living.
Why not kick the day off with some delicious breakfast at The Wolseley. With stunning art deco interiors taking you back to the 1920s, their recommended menu to go through is their Breakfast one, with world-famous French pastries and homemade viennoiseries.
Opened in 2003, The Wolseley has the bustle of an old Victorian restaurant, and with Buckingham Palace down the road it’s been known to have the occasional royal visitor grace its establishment. Side note, it’s right in the tourist trail near other landmarks so there’s no excuse to skip this one but be sure to grab reservations as breakfast fills up fast!
When in London, afternoon tea is a must and the best spot in Mayfair is Claridge’s hotel. This five-star hotel has long been the go-to for the elite in London, and abroad. With posh amenities, it’s been frequented by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and there’s a wide selection of teas and delicious food items to dabble in. During Christmas time it’s also a place to visit to witness its famous Christmas tree display.
Shopping, and walking means one gets very tired and needs some grub. Luckily Mayfair is home to some of the world’s best restaurants and one worth checking out is Benares.
Benares serves Indian cuisine with a mix of British influence through the use of ingredients such as Scottish scallops and New Forest venison. The interior of the restaurant draws inspiration from the city of Benares in India.
Book a reservation here for an unforgettable meal and don’t forget to kick things off with their famous Passion Fruit Chutney Martini. You will find unique cocktails at their lounge and mouth-watering desserts to satisfy any craving. If you like fine dining, stopping by Benares is a must during your trip.
With all that spice from having Indian for dinner, what better way to soften the palette with some delicious ice cream at Fortnum & Mason. This little-known shop is tucked in the back on the first floor of Fortnum’s in Piccadilly. With flavors that can only be found here, this parlor is a hidden gem worth discovering. Beyond ice cream, they also serve sandwiches and wine, and it’s a great spot to double down on the libations as the night progresses.
A visit to Mayfair also means checking out its most famous pub, the Punch Bowl. Formerly owned by Madonna’s ex, Guy Ritchie, this one’s known to have a few celebrities pop in for old times’ sake. With an old-world charm about it, the pub not only serves excellent drinks but great food as well.
A perfect place to visit after a day of exploring to kick back and relax over a beer, mingle with a celebrity by chance, and end up in their VIP booth later in the night!
Wine at Fortnum & Mason, followed by more drinks at Punch Bowl means it’s time to party. Tape was the winner of the Best Club Award in 2018 and can be found on Hanover Square near Oxford Circus Station. This club hosts A-list performers regularly and boasts many celebrities and royals as frequent visitors. It’s even got its own recording studio for budding musicians. A great way to experience the nightlife of Mayfair.
Shopping in Mayfair means a visit to the infamous Royal Arcade is essential. London’s first ever shopping arcade, it still honors the architecture and design from the Victorian era. With limited changes, including some of the businesses that have operated there since the 1800s, the Royal Arcade is a must visit to take a walk into the past as well as get some shopping done.
Be sure to check out Charbonnel et Walker, a luxury chocolate store at No. 1 and No. 2 which holds a Royal Warrant from her Majesty still to this day. Other notable shops worth exploring include Simon Griffin Antiques, William Weston Gallery, and George Cleverley Shoemaker.
The Heywood Hill bookstore is another great visit whether it’s to find a special edition or just browse their vast selection of old and new books. The shop is known for its excellent service and one’s guaranteed to have a dedicated staff member to help find titles or recommend books worth reading. The bookstore specializes in fiction, travel, history, and children’s books as well as any items by Nancy Mitford who helped save the shop from closure in the 1940s.
There are two streets in Mayfair known for its boutique fashion stores housing some of the best designers and tailors in London, and arguably the U.K.
Walkthrough Jermyn Street and Savile Row to find some of the best tailor shops with centuries of experience, as well as other bespoke designer shops. Pop over to Burlington Arcade when the outfit hunt gets boring to explore high-end retailers selling premium watches, jewelry, fragrances.
By now it’s clear Mayfair is the place to be for shopping. Bond Street and Dover Street Market are the other pinnacle areas for London designer shopping. Housing big brands, it’s also home to various boutiques such as Avery Fine Perfume and Kirk Originals that can only be found in Mayfair. These local establishments are what makes shopping at Mayfair unique with designs one can’t find anywhere else in London. Be sure to check them out!
Mayfair is a great place to visit. You can explore the Handel Museum, stroll through the Royal Arcade, and enjoy fine dining at an Indian restaurant all in one day. Whether your stay is short or long, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of things to do in such a lively city!