Sandwiched between the huge leafy green space of Hyde Park and the bustling shopping and entertainment districts of Soho and Piccadilly, both Mayfair and St James’ are not only two of the most desirable neighborhoods in London, but in the world.
Both areas have managed to retain their airs of affluence and opulence over the centuries and both rank as London’s richest neighborhoods, Mayfair being the richest. With decline in the aristocracy throughout the 20th century – many of who owned swathes of Mayfair – the area has become a key district to work in as much as it has become to live and play in.
There is more to Mayfair and St James’ than its once-aristocratic-and-now-megabucks reputation, however, with both being major cultural hubs in London. In Mayfair there’s the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Institution of Great Britain, while in St James’ has the eponymous palace. Mayfair especially is considered a leading shopping precinct and is home to some of London’s oldest retailers including Fortnum & Mason and Smythson.
British Petroleum (BP) moved to the prestigious 1 St James Square in 2002, occupying a 10,000 square foot space, while investment firm The Carlyle Group’s London HQ is at the equally impressive address 1 St James’ Market.
There is currently 1.12 million square feet of available space to let in Mayfair and St James's which equates to a vacancy rate of 7.2%
In the area…
Mayfair may be one of the most expensive places in the world to live, but that doesn’t mean its out of reach for your regular Joe. Boozers such as the The Punch Bowl channels the traditional aesthetic of an old East End boozer (albeit one that’s had a face lift) while Mr Fogg’s Residence feels like the perfect period venue to plot your own around-the-world trip, fueled on by one of their exotic cocktails, or two.
In an ideal world we’d outlaw mediocre dining experiences and use Mayfair restaurants as an exemplar of how to dine in a consistently fabulous fashion. Alas, we live in the real world, but there is still always Mayfair to visit. Make a point of visiting Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill on Swallow Street for perhaps the best seafood in the district, while Michelin-starred stalwarts such as Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche on Upper Brook Street serve the best-value set lunch in town.
For us mere mortals, both districts has plenty of more inexpensive options, while neighboring Soho is only a short walk away for more mainstream fare. We would recommend The Windmill on Mill Street for its dedication to serving top-qaulity pies for under a tenner, of which it makes more than a thousand a week. Meanwhile Rasa W1 has been making waves across London in recent years, with its vegetarian menu as close to authentic southern Indian cuisine you’re likely to find this side of Kerala.
While high-end designer shops are ten-a-penny in Mayfair (and considerably more), it’s worth taking a trip to Burlington Arcade, if not for a traditional shoeshine or a macaroon at Ladurée. Within the Arcade you can also find brands such as Church’s, Roja Parfums and House of Cashmere.
Le Gavroche serves Michelin-starred dishes
Bentley’s – the perfect place to park for lunch
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill – The world’s your oyster
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill – Wine and dine clients at discreet restaurants
Burlington Arcade – pick up bespoke gifts on the way home
An address to impress
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Want to see what the wider neighborhood has to offer? Why not read our guides for the nearby areas.