A shopper’s guide to Mayfair, London
Mayfair’s identity is shaped by its incredible designer boutiques, trendsetting restaurants, expensive jewelers, and high-end art galleries that line its network of streets. In fact, four of London’s most famous thoroughfares border the district with Park Lane to the west, Piccadilly to the south, and the shopping hotspots of Regent and Oxford Street to the east and north respectively. As you may already be starting to notice, Mayfair is a self-contained area that deserves a full day of exploration, so here’s a selection of shopping and dining highlights that’ll help you make the most of it.
A place of calm away from Regent Street, which borders Mayfair, this Irani-inspired café will set you up for a busy day of shopping. Many of the dishes on the long breakfast menu will be familiar – think full English fry ups and Eggs Benedict – but they put a spicey spin on things. Take the ‘akuri’ dish, for example. It is scrambled eggs ramped up with onion, coriander, garlic, and a pinch of turmeric to give it a sun-burst glow, served with a slow-roasted tomato and a buttered bun.
Don’t miss the free refills on the warming chai, into which you can dunk that bun. (22 Kingly Street)
Big name designers on Old Bond Street
When you pry yourself away from the comfort of Dishoom, cross the Regent Street to find Old Bond Street where your arrival in upscale Mayfair will be obvious by the names that line the Georgian-fronted street. As you make your way south from New Bond Street, keep a look out for The Royal Arcade. This richly decorated row of stucco arches, curved glass window bays, and elegant columns is home to fashion and antique boutiques.
Vintage finds at Burlington Arcade
Established by the gentry for the gentry in 1819, this high-end shopping gallery was a precursor to the modern-day mall. Given the luxury boutiques, it has long been a magnet for thieves, and it still has its own police force. Known as the Beadles, you’ll notice them patrolling in their Savile Row-cut uniforms. Don’t expect any trouble, but just be sure not to whistle – this has been banned since the Victorian days when it was a signal used by pickpockets. (51 Piccadilly)
Caffeine fix at Cecconi’s
When you pop out the north end of the arcade, turn right and prepare yourself for a warm welcome at this buzzing all-day Italian restaurant. The coffee is strong and comes courtesy of north London roasters Terrone & Co., and there is always a fantastic selection of freshly baked cakes. Call in advance to secure a window table to watch the world go by. (5A Burlington Gardens)
World-class tailoring on Savile Row
The world’s most bespoke street has been shaping the way men dress for years and many of the tailors that line the street have been fitting and shaping suits here for more than two centuries. There are also fashion houses pushing things into the modern day without compromising English heritage and artisanal spirit.
Lunch at Hakkasan Mayfair
It’ll take a while to adjust to the dim lighting as you descend into the subterranean dining room, which sets the tone for one of the most popular and intimate restaurants in London. Chinese dishes are contemporary takes on traditional recipes, with whole Peking duck, baked abalone and chicken puffs, and scallop dumplings all stealing the show. (17 Bruton Street)
Afternoon tea at The Ritz
Except for cricket, talking about the weather, and queueing politely, there are few things more typically British than the cucumber sandwiches, Earl Grey tea, and warm scones of afternoon tea. The spectacular Palm Court at the world-famous Ritz is a fittingly opulent spot to partake in tradition and we love the choice of 18 teas, live pianist, and towering selection of fresh-baked cakes, roulades, and tartlets. (150 Piccadilly)
Take in some art at the Royal Academy of Arts
If your legs can take it after an afternoon of shopping, we recommend heading back to Piccadilly to visit the hallowed galleries of one of London’s most well-respected artistic institutions. Britain's first art school has been a hotbed of talent for more than 250 years, and it welcomes exhibitions from greats like David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Edvard Munch, and Michael Armitage. (Burlington House, Piccadilly)
Dinner at Sexy Fish
Dubious name aside, the confident Asian-fusion cooking and unbridled decadence of this Berkeley Square hotspot means the reservation book is full every night. Make sure you book at least two weeks in advance, and once seated, you should order the Wagyu gyoza, caramelized black cod, and one of the smoky, chipotle-infused Golden Riviera cocktails. Like everything here, it turns expectations on their head. (Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square) \
Stay the night at Claridge’s
If you’re going to make a night of it, the famed art deco of Claridge’s hotel is a wise choice. Its grand foyer and sweeping staircase make a memorable first impression, and the guest rooms and suites are among the largest in London, individually designed in shades of white, gold, pastel blue, and silver. Every evening should begin with cocktails in the candlelit The Fumoir bar, and to work off the indulgence, the state-of-the-art health and fitness center opens early and has personal trainers and sweeping views of Hyde Park. (Brook Street)