Mayfair, London, is well known by many affluent groups of society. That’s because it is not just the most expensive and wealthiest district in London but one of the most expensive neighbourhoods on the planet.
The area gets its unique name from an actual fair that used to occur each year. As you may guess, the fair took place in May, on the first 14 days of the month. It started in 1560 and ran for many years, taking up permanent residence in modern-day Mayfair in 1686.
Today, the area is a hive of activity for businesses, home to some of the most magnificent private residences in England, and a place that tourists flock to. While there are many more destinations in Mayfair worth exploring, we’ve narrowed this list down to the top ten best it has to offer.
The Royal Academy of Arts
Founded in 1768, the Royal Academy of Arts is one of the most recognizable and prestigious art institutions anywhere in the world. Housed in Burlington House on Piccadilly, it attracts many curious visitors each year.
The academy, which is entirely privately funded, is run by some of the top artists and art professors in the country. As these artists carefully screen all the art, you can rest assured that all the artwork displayed in the academy is worthy of its prestigious walls.
The academy also hosts a Summer Exhibition each year and has been doing so since 1769. This exhibition attracts over 13,000 submissions each year, even though only around 700 make it to the actual showing.
The Royal Institution
Also known by its full name as the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Ri is the most iconic scientific facility in the country. Established in 1799 by Henry Cavendish and George Finch, the institution was granted a royal charter—issued by the Royal Family itself—in 1800 that gives the institute complete control over itself.
The Ri is credited with pushing scientists to discover new theories, give fascinating lectures, and house jaw-dropping tourist attractions. Among these is the Faraday Museum, a tribute to famed scientist Michael Faraday.
This famous square was built in 1710 by Sir Richard Grosvenor and named after the Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor. While it started as private property, the park is now open to the public. It is currently undergoing a massive overhaul to become one of England’s most extravagant and extraordinary gardens.
Aside from the beautiful gardens, the square has also been home to various embassies. It also holds a stunning memorial garden for the 67 British citizens that lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre towers on September 11, 2001.
If you know anything about fashion, chances are you’ve heard of Bond Street. Built in the 1720s, the street has always been home to some of the most expensive and prestigious brands and stores. Even today, it still offers some of the most expensive real estate in all of Europe.
While the street is split into New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, most people ignore this and visit the long stretch to engage in the many shopping adventures it offers. These include stores like Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Dior, Rolex, and Cartier.
Mount Street Gardens
Mount Street Gardens is a must-visit destination in Mayfair for fans of the strange and macabre. Established in 1723, the park first existed as a burial ground. Because of this, the gardens are also home to the Grosvenor Chapel and the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception.
While the gardens are a lovely place for a relaxing stroll around the different churches and wonderful nature on display, the park’s history comprises a bit of morbidity. In the 1700s, it was a hotspot for graverobbing. These shocking occurrences only ended in the 1850s when new laws prohibited the looting of corpses.
Known as the best street in the world for tailored clothing, Savile Row is home to over 21 different tailors. These include names like Huntsman, William Hunt, and Henry Poole & Co. Some of these tailors have existed on the street for over 100 years.
Initially occupied by military officers and their families, the street was constructed between 1731 and 1735. By 1803, Henry Poole opened his first tailor on the road and is credited with birthing modern tailor works.
Planned in the 1830s, Berkeley Square was initially designed to be a natural break and garden amongst the bustle of buildings in Mayfair. As such, it still operates as a public park today. Even though the gardens are listed as Grade II, they are drab compared to other squares available in the city.
What makes these gardens stand out and attract tourists are the London Plane trees planted during the French revolution in 1789. These behemoth trees are a sight to behold, including one that is listed among the most valuable trees in London.
Located at 14 Old Park Lane, Metropolitan Mayfair is the perfect place to visit if you’re in the mood for a meeting with Lady Luck. This new luxury casino, which just opened in December 2022, boasts a lavish atmosphere and stunning lounge to relax in, as well as a restaurant boasting an international menu with a curated selection of wines.
Though it doesn’t host any slots with PayPal support, the Metropolitan offers “best-in-class gaming,” high-stakes table games, and unparalleled service.
Founded in 1960, Pace Gallery is a leading art gallery with roots in Boston, USA, that features both modern and contemporary artwork. It is associated with artists like Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, and Alexander Calder.
Located within Hanover Square in Mayfair, the London branch of Pace is a fantastic place to see fresh and inspiring exhibitions that change on an annual basis.
Handel & Hendrix
Located on Brook Street, The Handel & Hendrix Museum pays tribute to two of the most influential names in music history: George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix. These musicians lived at houses numbers 23 and 25 on the famous street.
Reopening in early 2023, the museum has undergone extensive renovation to restore its heritage. It claims that, when again accessible to the public, it will offer all-new adventures about Jimi Hendrix and let people experience the house that Handel lived in just as it was when he was alive.