Shopping in Mayfair: Retail therapy in London’s most elegant area

Located in the West End of London, in the borough of the city of Westminster, Mayfair is one of the best-known areas of London. Most of its appeal lies in its affluent character, making it one of the favourite places in the entire city for both locals and tourists to spend their time. By the late 18th century, most of Mayfair was rebuilt to house the upper classes. Unlike other parts of London that were also refashioned for the wealthy at the time, Mayfair never lost this characteristic. However, it became more commercial during the early 20th century as households were converted into corporate headquarters or embassies. 

Nowadays, it’s widely recognised as the best shopping spot in all of England, so if you’re looking to try some retail therapy, here’s where you should start. 

Oxford Street

In the Middle Ages, Oxford Street was known as Tyburn Road, home to the manor estate of the same name and the Tyburn Gallows, colloquially referred to as the “Tyburn Tree”. For centuries, it was a place for execution where traitors and religious dissidents were punished. But that grim reputation is a thing of the past as the street is now one of the most well-known places in the country for leisure and relaxation. 

Despite competition from online retailers, as e-commerce has grown quite a lot over the years, Oxford Street remains in high demand, with its flagship stores attracting numerous customers every day. The popularity of the retail area has also made it densely packed with traffic, contributing to a significant pollution problem. King’s College London reports showed that Oxford Street had the world’s highest nitrogen dioxide pollution levels, with the peak levels over eleven times higher than the European permitted maximum. 

Although plans were for Oxford Street to become entirely pedestrianised by 2020, locals, business associations and the Westminster City Council disapproved of the project. In 2023, new initiatives were announced to give the street a £120 million makeover, but pedestrianisation plans appear to have been completely axed. 

If you are on Oxford Street, you must visit the flagship Selfridges. Opened in 1909, it is the second-largest store in the United Kingdom and was voted the world’s best department store twice. On top of offering a large selection of high-quality products, you can also enjoy the architectural beauty of the building, as well as the design. House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Gap, John Lewis & Partners and Primark are some of the other popular destinations among shoppers. 

Dover Street Market 

To go on a veritable shopping spree, you must ensure you’re feeling perfectly well and have high energy levels. For instance, if you’ve experienced an accident at work, you might have to postpone your trip until you feel better. You can reach out to and talk to a specialised solicitor that’ll help you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. This way, you can cover all your medical expenses and ensure a rapid recovery. 

Dover Street Market is one of the top shopping destinations for true connoisseurs, combining a regular department store with an exhibition area. Initially designed for its Mayfair location, the concept has since expanded worldwide, in Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. The creator of Dover Street is Rei Kawakubo, the founder of the Comme des Garçons fashion label. 

You can find a large selection of brands here, especially luxury designers, so if you’ve been looking to invest in something high-quality that’ll last a long time, look no further. Both high fashion and streetwear are popular here, with brands such as Balenciaga, Celine, LOWE, Maison Margiela, Marni, Raf Simmons, Rick Owens, Valentino, Thom Browne, Vetements, Supreme and Stüssy being just a few of the shops you can visit. 

Bond Street 

Bond Street has always been divided between Old and New Bond Streets to the south and north, respectively. Back in the 18th century, the street began to be a favourite among the bourgeoisie of Mayfair, leading shop owners to convert the upper storeys of their shops for residential purposes. As such, Bond Street lodgers included Jonathan Swift, William Pitt the Elder and Laurence Sterne. 

In the mid-1780s, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, an aristocrat and socialite related to both Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales, further contributed to the rise of popularity for Bond Street when she asked the general public to boycott Covent Garden since its residents had voted Whig MP Charles James Fox out of Parliament. When she insisted that people find places to shop closer to home, Mayfair residents turned to Bond Street. This led to the creation of the Bond Street Loungers, an upper-class group that donned pricey wigs and paraded up and down the street. 

British luxury fashion house Burberry established its flagship store here. The brand remains popular because of its emblematic trench coats, footwear, leather products, and ready-to-wear clothes. It has even attracted a large number of devoted fans that loyally follow every new collection. Some of the other fashion boutiques you can shop at on Bond Street include Christian Dior, DKNY, Tiffany & Co. and Chanel. 

Burlington Arcade 

East of Bond Street, you’ll find the 179 metres long Burlington Arcade. Given the location’s architectural design, with the shop fronts situated under a roofed arcade, you can browse through all the items in a relaxed atmosphere. There’s a wide selection of products you can shop for, ranging from swimwear to jewellery and from cashmere loungewear and leather shoes to foods and beverages. What’s more, the Burlington Arcade is dog-friendly, so you don’t have to leave your friend at home. 

England is one of the best places in the world for shopping lovers. London naturally has the widest selection of shops, and if you want to sample the best of the best, you must head to Mayfair. It’s not just about the clothes, but the whole atmosphere of these department stores, which makes shopping in Mayfair a unique experience. Before heading out, you must ensure that you won’t exceed your budget by a lot. Remember to shop responsibly. 


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