If you’re considering prime real estate in London, it doesn’t get any ritzier or more glamourous than magnificent Mayfair. Everything about this exclusive district radiates lavish luxury – from its world-class restaurants and bespoke Savile Row tailors, to its prestigious 5-star hotels, illustrious private members’ clubs and elegant royal parks.
Located in the heart of the West End, Mayfair truly is the crème-de-la-crème of London’s prime property scene – its irresistible location and top-end amenities attracting high-net worth individuals from the UK and beyond. The area is famed for being the most expensive property on the British Monopoly board, yet in spite of its reputation as being the playground of the mega rich, much of Mayfair still retains a charming village feel. Join us in this guide as we reveal the many surprises and superlatives to be found up Mayfair’s well-tailored sleeves.
Architecture and areas
Mayfair’s residential property typically comprises elegant Georgian homes, grand freehold townhouses, mews houses and post-war pied-à-terre apartments. Lateral space is particularly prized in the district, with apartments of this type fetching eye-watering prices. Outside space is rare in Mayfair and thus in high demand.
Mayfair Village is the traditional core of the area, known for its charming ambience. Popular streets include Charles Street and Upper Grosvenor Street, while Mount Street, with its beautiful Queen Anne architecture and exclusive designer boutiques, is known as the jewel in Mayfair’s crown. With a local butcher, boutique delis and independent cafés, plus the pretty Mount Street Gardens, the area offers a taste of village life in the heart of central London.
To the very west of the district, bordered by Hyde Park and made famous by the British Monopoly board, Park Lane is the illustrious playground of the international jet set: bejewelled with London’s most prestigious hotels and popular with fast car fanatics, this is the place to be for those who want nothing less than a superstar address.
On the east side of Mayfair lies the artisan quarter, a vibrant hub of luxury boutiques and high-end brands with a slightly bohemian air. Sophisticated restaurants, fine art dealers and antique shops can be found here, and the best roads include Ablemarle and Old Burlington Streets.
To the north east, leafy Grosvenor Square is home to a number of embassies, attracting an international diplomatic crowd and remaining one of the most coveted addresses in prime central London.
Townhouses and lateral apartments in Mayfair run into the millions, with smart one-bedroom apartments starting from £1 million upwards. For renters, 1 bed apartments start from around £600 per week, while 2 bedroom apartments tend to fetch between £1,000-£1,500 per week. Shepherds Market and Curzon Street are some of the more popular areas for renters, and slightly lower rental prices can be found in the nearby St James’s Park area.
Who lives here?
The enviable lifestyle offered by Mayfair’s prime location means it attracts a young and affluent crowd, including professionals and couples without children. Socialites and city workers are attracted to the quaint mews houses found in north Mayfair, while the sky-high property prices and dearth of outside space tends to make the area less popular with families. Many Mayfair homes are pied-à-terres which are only occupied occasionally, typically by those who have their main residence elsewhere and want to leave their apartment in the safe hands of a concierge who will take care of things while they are away.
Many of the world’s rich and famous have been resident in Mayfair, including Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Florence Nightingale and Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
Mayfair was originally a rural village surrounded by fields and farmland. The area was transformed between the mid-17th and mid-18th century by a number of landlords, including the Grosvenor family, who built the upmarket Grosvenor Square – paving the way for the makings of modern Mayfair – and whose influence in ensuring all new developments are in-keeping with the district’s traditional feel continues to this day.
Mayfair is named after an annual 15-day long event, the May Fair, which took place on the site that is now Shepherd Market between 1686 and 1764. It was in Mayfair in 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated his most innovative invention, the telephone, by making a successful call from Brown’s Hotel on Albemarle Street – on a phone that can still be seen in the hotel today.
As you might expect for a district of this stature, Mayfair also has a fabulous royal history: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was born in a house on Bruton Street and lived in Mayfair during her infancy, while her future husband, the late Prince Philip, had his stag night at The Dorchester. Additionally, a large part of freehold land in Mayfair belongs to the Crown Estate.
Drinking and dining
It may come as no surprise that Mayfair has more Michelin star restaurants than any other neighbourhood in London, with over twenty separate establishments including Benares, Hakkasan, Alaine Ducasse at The Dorchester and Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche. Outside of the Michelin scene, Nobu, C London and Sexy Fish are some other popular choices.
Mayfair also has a wealth of opulent options for drinks: Duke’s Bar in St James’s was purportedly frequented by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, and is said to have inspired the famous line, ‘shaken not stirred’. In 2021, The Connaught Bar was voted the World’s Best Bar for the second year running, and other glamorous spots include Le Magritte at the Beaumont and The Luggage Room at The Marriot. For Champagne and oysters, try celebrity hang-out Scott’s.
As you might expect, Mayfair is home to some of London’s most exclusive and extravagant private members’ clubs: Annabel’s, 5 Hereford Street, Maison Estelle and Harry’s Bar are the places to be seen if you want to be toast of the town.
For a quintessentially British treat, you can’t top afternoon tea at The Ritz – one of the most iconic dining experiences in the world. Dainty plates are laden with a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a range of beautifully presented pastries – and washed down with a choice of fine loose-leaf tea or glass of Champagne to add extra sparkle to the occasion.
Alternatively, indulge in picture-perfect Parisian pastries at Ladurée in Burlington Arcade,
When it comes to shopping in London, Mayfair is quite literally as posh as it gets, and the area is famed for providing luxury goods and services to the aristocracy for over 300 years. Filled with iconic flagship stores like Liberty, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason, Mayfair has always been the shopping destination of choice for the well-heeled and wealthy.
Mount Street lies at the heart of the action, with a wide variety of high-end boutiques including Dior, Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta and Loewe. Savile Row, towards south Mayfair, is world-renowned for its bespoke tailoring, whilst Bond Street is celebrated for its designer fashions, fine jewellers, watch makers and more. Glittering international brands like Burberry, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton can be found in the area, which also boasts some of the best shopping arcades in the UK, such as Burlington Arcade, Royal Arcades and Piccadilly, which are full of the finest independent boutiques.
Arts and culture
As the epitome of refinement and prestigious London luxury, Mayfair is unsurprisingly home to some captivating museums, galleries and historic buildings. These include the Royal Academy of Arts and Handel House Museum, as well as St James’s Palace and Sotheby’s auction house. The district also has its own Curzon Cinema, is adjacent to London’s Theatreland – home of the very best West End shows – and has some cool contemporary art galleries such as those lining Cork Street.
Transport and airports
The beauty of Mayfair is that most of central London’s best shops and attractions are always just a short walk or black cab ride away. The area is also extremely well-served by public transport, with no less than 7 different tube stations all within walking distance: Green Park, Bond Street, Hyde Park Corner, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Charing Cross and Piccadilly. These stations cover the Jubilee, Piccadilly, Central and Victoria lines, offering a fast commute to the office and making most of central London highly accessible.
There are also good bus links via Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane, which leads directly onto the Edgware Road (A5) for easy access to the M1 and A41. To the north of Mayfair, the A40 runs through Holborn into the heart of The City, home to London City Airport, while the A4 towards the M4 and Heathrow Airport begins at nearby Hyde Park Corner. Trains from Mayfair to Heathrow Airport typically take around half an hour.
Schools and hospitals
Mayfair’s residents have come to expect the very best and education is no exception. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent local schools to be found nearby – though predictably, many of them come with high tuition fees.
St George’s on South Street is a local primary school, while Westminster School, one of the UK’s leading co-educational schools, is found just south of St James’s Park. The area is also home to the private Eaton Square School, a private institution catering for nursery and prep-age children right through to sixth form, as well as Queens College school for girls and Connaught House School near Marble Arch.
Those with artistic sensibilities will be delighted to discover the Sylvia Young Theatre School and London College of Fashion located nearby. Mayfair is also very well placed for easy access to a number of London’s top higher education institutions, including Westminster University on Regent Street and London School of Economics just off the Strand.
There are a wide range of NHS and private practices serving the Mayfair area. University College Hospital is the closest NHS hospital with an emergency department, while the London Welbeck and Weymouth Street Hospital are two popular private hospitals found in the area. In nearby Marylebone, Harley Street is famous for its high concentration of private medical specialists, including dentists.
Though few Mayfair homes have the luxury of their own outdoor space, the area’s elegant parks and leafy garden squares more than make up for it. In testament to its regal ambience, Mayfair is bordered by no less than three royal parks: Green Park to the south, Hyde Park to the west and Regent’s Park to the north – each with its own personality to explore. Within Mayfair itself, Grosvenor and Berkeley Squares and Mount Street Gardens provide welcome green spaces for walking pets or a quiet morning coffee.
Sports and leisure
Gyms are well represented in the Mayfair area, including Fitness First on Berkeley Square, Virgin Active on North Row and Third Space on Clarges Street. Mayfair Pilates is the area’s most popular pilates studio, while Triyoga Soho, one of London’s leading yoga centres offers a wide range of styles and classes and is just off Carnaby Street to the east of the district. In addition, many Mayfair hotels have first-class gym and leisure facilities, including swimming pools and spas, which can be accessed via monthly memberships or daily leisure passes.
The future of Mayfair
Launched in 2019, The Mayfair Neighbourhood Plan sets out the planning policies relating to Mayfair for the next two decades, with a long-term vision for residents, businesses and communities. The plan includes some fascinating insights for anyone contemplating a move to the area, with information on a wide range of topics such as housing and heritage, culture and community, retail and commercial, and transport and the environment. The Plan can be accessed in full here.
Considering a move to Mayfair?
If you’ve fallen in love with Mayfair or have your heart set on owning your very own piece of prime London real estate, we can help. We specialise in finding property in central London’s most sought-after areas and our extensive industry network means we have access to Mayfair properties marketed both publicly and off-market. Our service is discreet, confidential and we are comfortable working under non-disclosure agreements for high-profile clients. Contact us today to find out how we can help.