Living in Mayfair
Mayfair encompasses the area situated between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane, in the very heart of London’s West End, and adjacent to St James’s and its glorious Royal parks to the south.
For over 300 years, Mayfair and St James’s have provided grand homes, luxury goods and services to the aristocracy. The area is characterised by its splendid period architecture, beautiful shop fronts, leading art galleries, auction houses, wine merchants, cosmopolitan restaurants, 5 star hotels and gentleman’s clubs.
Did You Know:
- Mayfair is named after an annual 15 day long May Fair that took place on the site that is now Shepherd Market, from 1686 until 1764.
- There is a disused tube station on Down Street that used to serve the Piccadilly line. It was closed in 1932 and was later used by Winston Churchill as an underground bunker during the Second World War.
- No. 50 Berkeley Square is said to be the most haunted house in London, so much so that it will give any psychic an electric shock if they touch the external brickwork.
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was born in a house on Bruton Street and lived in Mayfair during her infancy. Her future husband Prince Philip had his stag night at The Dorchester.
- The oldest outdoor statue in London is located above the entrance of Sotheby’s on New Bond Street. The Ancient Egyptian effigy of the lion-goddess Sekmet is carved from black igneous rock and dates to around 1320 BC. In the 1880s the sculpture was sold for £40 but never collected by the buyer and was then positioned at the front entrance in 1917.
- It was in Mayfair in 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his most ground breaking invention, the telephone, by making a successful call from Brown’s Hotel on Albemarle Street.
Architecture and property:
During the Second World War, heavy bombing in the City forced a large number of businesses to relocate to Mayfair, taking over residential homes in the process. From the mid 1990’s these buildings started to revert back to residential use. Because of this, Mayfair is known for its elegant period conversions, post-war apartments and grand freehold town houses.
Lateral space is particularly prized in Mayfair, with such apartments fetching premium prices in the local market. Freehold townhouses and outside space are rare and thus greatly sought after.
Mount Street is the jewel in Mayfair’s crown; known for its beautiful Queen Anne architecture, exclusive designer boutiques, celebrity haunt Scotts’s and private members club George.
Who lives there:
Traditionally Mayfair and St James’s were “old school” British areas, but are now one of the most cosmopolitan, high net worth areas in central London, attracting a very healthy mix of UK based purchasers, coupled with a wide variety of overseas nationalities.
Where to eat:
Mayfair is home to more Michelin starred restaurants than any other part of London. Most popular spots include: Le Gavroche, Benares, Hakkasan, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, The Greenhouse, Gymkana and Fera at Claridge’s.
Other venues include the highly fashionable Sexy Fish on Berkeley Square, Scott’s, Nobu, Roka, Sketch and the Pollen Street Social.
Where to drink:
The Connaught Bar in The Connaught Hotel has been voted the World’s Best Cocktail Bar in the 10th Annual Spirited Awards. Other lively and equally glamorous spots include the Berkeley Street Bar, the American Bar at the Beaumont, the Polo Bar at The Westbury, Trader Vic’s, The Luggage Room, Mr Fogg’s and Duke’s Bar in St James’s. Frequented by Ian Fleming, Dukes’s is said to have inspired Bond’s line “shaken not stirred”.
Mayfair and St James’s is packed with world-class art galleries, museums and historic buildings, including The Royal Academy of Arts, which is set in the beautiful Burlington House on Piccadilly. Other attractions include Handel House Museum, Spencer House, St James’s Palace, Burlington Arcade, the Curzon Street Cinema and world famous auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
Beyond Piccadilly you reach an area known as “Theatreland”, which is home to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Garrick Theatre, The Royal Opera House and The Criterion Theatre to name a few.
The area is also famed for its private members clubs, which include Annabel’s, 5 Hertford Street, The Arts Club, The RAC, Little House Mayfair and The Lansdowne Club.
Sports & Leisure:
Gyms are well represented in the area and include Fitness First on Berkeley Square, Matt Roberts Personal Training on Berkeley Street, Virgin Active on North Row, as well as gym and leisure facilities within all the local hotels.
Mayfair is internationally renowned for its upmarket designer boutiques and flagship stores. It is within easy reach of two of London’s most notable department stores, Selfridges and Liberties of London. Mount Street lies at the epicentre and houses a wide variety of high end boutiques, including Celine, Dior, Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta and Loewe.
Savile Row, towards south Mayfair, has long been famed for its bespoke tailoring, whilst Bond Street is celebrated for its fine jewellers and watch makers, such as Mappin & Webb, Boodles, Cartier, De Beers and Tiffany & Co.
Mayfair also boasts a number of traditional shopping arcades, including the Burlington, Piccadilly and Royal Arcades, which house an array of quintessentially British brands. Fortnum & Mason, known as the world’s most luxurious food hall and supplier to the Queen, are renowned for their luxury hampers and exquisite food products.
Parks & Green Spaces:
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.
Underground (London only):
Green Park tube station (Jubilee, Victoria & Piccadilly lines)
Hyde Park Corner tube station (Piccadilly line)
Bond Street tube station (Jubilee & Central lines and Crossrail from 2017)
Oxford Circus tube station (Bakerloo, Central & Victoria lines)
Piccadilly Circus tube station (Piccadilly & Bakerloo lines)
Marble Arch tube station (Central line)
Charing Cross station (Bakerloo & Northern lines and National Rail services)
The area is very well served by local buses, with main stops on Park Lane, Piccadilly and Oxford Street providing transportation across the whole of central London.
Park Lane leads directly onto the Edgware Road (A5) for access to the M1 and A41.
The A4 for the M4 and Heathrow Airport begins at Hyde Park Corner.
To the north of Mayfair, the A40 runs through Holborn and into the heart of The City.
St George's Hanover Square, a co-educational Church school based on South Street, is the local Primary school. Westminster School, one of the UK’s top independent co-educational schools is located just to the south of St James’s Park.
Other independent schools in the vicinity of Mayfair and St James’s include Connaught House, a co-educational preparatory school for children between the ages of 4 and 11, and Queens College London, for girls aged 11 to 18.
The renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School is also nearby and takes both girls and boys between 10 and 16 years of age.
For higher education, Westminster University is based at the northern end of Regent Street, whilst the London School of Economics is based just off the Strand.
Council & Tax Bands:
Westminster council tax rates:
Council tax rates for Borough of Westminster 2016/17