Mayfair – what’s it all about?
Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London bordering Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster, between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane. It is one of the most expensive districts in London and the world. The area is synonymous with luxury brands and is home to some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world. Mayfair offers a mixture of sought after commercial and residential real estate popular with both domestic and international residents.
Its prestigious status has been commemorated by being the most expensive property square on the London Monopoly board.
Architecture and property
Mayfair consists of the historical Grosvenor estate and the Albemarle, Berkeley, Burlington, and Curzon estates. It is bordered on the west by Park Lane, north by Oxford Street, east by Regent Street, and the south by Piccadilly. Beyond the bounding roads, to the north is Marylebone, to the east Soho, and to the Southwest Knightsbridge and Belgravia. The 8-acre Grosvenor Square is roughly in the centre of Mayfair with its centrepiece, containing numerous expensive and desirable properties.
Where to start? With the pick of the world’s best hotels, all steeped in history, and eating establishments you are spoilt for choice. Choose from Claridge’s , The Grosvenor House Hotel , The Dorchester , The May Fair Hotel or The Ritz .
No-one taxis to Mayfair expecting a cheap night out. It’s somewhere to crack credit card limits, where dining out still means dressing up, and cocktails and champagne before everything. There is glamour on every corner and more than a fair share of ridiculousness, too. There are familiar names that have been around forever – Scott’s, Le Caprice, Langan’s, Bellamy’s – that draw a well-heeled, occasionally famous crowd.
Mayfair has had a range of exclusive shops, hotels, restaurants and clubs since the 19th century. The quarter—especially the Bond Street area—is also the home of numerous commercial art galleries and international auction houses such as Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Don’t miss the covered Burlington Arcade which opened in 1819. Designed by Samuel Ware ‘for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles of fashionable demand’. It extends 196 yards behind Bond Street from Piccadilly through to Burlington Gardens. It is one of the precursors of the mid-19th-century European shopping gallery and the modern shopping mall.
Shepherd Market has been called the “village centre” of Mayfair. The current buildings date from around 1860 and house food and antique shops, pubs and restaurants. Numerous galleries have given Mayfair a reputation as an international art hub. The Royal Academy of Arts based in Burlington House, was founded in 1768 by George III and is the oldest fine arts society in the world.
Mayfair is surrounded by three of the Royal Parks – Hyde Park to the west and Green Park and St James’s Park to the south and south east. Other green spaces include prestigious Grosvenor Square, Berkeley Square and St James’s Square, just off Pall Mall.
Although there are no London Underground stations inside Mayfair, there are several on the boundaries. The Central Line stops at Marble Arch, Bond Street and Oxford Circus along Oxford Street along the northern edge, and Piccadilly Circus and Green Park are along the Piccadilly line on the southern side, along with Hyde Park Corner close by in Knightsbridge making this one of the best connected areas in Central London.
Some of the best schools in the UK are in Mayfair including Portland Place School, Francis Holland School and Eaton House School also within the immediate vicinity are some the best of the UK’s highest achieving secondary schools Eaton Square Schools, Westminster Academy and City of London School .