Mayfair area guide
Area size: 21.48 km2 (City of Westminster)
Population: 219,600 (City of Westminster)
Average house price (based on 3-bed house): £2,921,124 (Source: Foxtons)
Mayfair is an area of central London, by the east edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster. These days, it is a largely commercial part of the capital and many of the former homes have been converted into office buildings, embassies and businesses. The residential properties that do remain are among the most expensive and desirable in London, if not the world.
People come from far and wide to enjoy London’s largest concentration of five-star hotels, exclusive shopping and renowned restaurants. For administrative purposes, Mayfair sits within the City of Westminster.
Mayfair’s top five
- Quality of life: Mayfair is a safe, desirable place to live, which has a community feel despite its role as a thriving commercial hub. World-class restaurants, shops, hotels and leisure facilities are on the doorstep. Luxury and sophistication are a way of life here.
- Transport links: Mayfair’s central location and proximity to London’s exceptional transport links means that its residents and workers are well connected to the rest of the capital and the surrounding counties.
- Parks and green spaces: One of the great pleasures of living or working in Mayfair is exploring hundreds of acres of open space provided by nearby Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park.
- Education opportunities: People living in Mayfair have access to a significant number of London’s most highly regarded state schools rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. The area’s central location means that London’s universities and colleges are in easy reach too.
- Retail therapy: Mayfair offers a world-famous shopping experience, and people travel from far and wide to enjoy the range of exclusive designer shops, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs in the area.
Although Mayfair does not have its own London Underground station, Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are all within easy reach, giving people living and working in Mayfair excellent access to the rest of London and transport links throughout the UK.
You can use the Jubilee Line via Bond Street station – this will take you to Westminster, Waterloo and Canary Wharf, as well as giving you access to Central Line services into the City.
From Green Park, the Piccadilly line runs south to Heathrow Airport (you can also catch the Heathrow Express from Marylebone Station) or north to King’s Cross St. Pancras. You can take the Victoria line to Victoria Station and mainline train services to the South Coast; the Gatwick Express provides a fast shuttle service between Victoria and Gatwick airport.
The opening of the Crossrail station at Bond Street in 2018 will cut journey times to Canary Wharf by 13 minutes and mean that Heathrow will be just 27 minutes away.
Only one bus route runs through Mayfair itself – this is the 24-hour C2 route – but, again, there is a vast selection of bus routes along Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly, and Park Lane.
The A40 is a major ‘trunk’ road that connects central London to Wales, becoming the M40 and connecting with the M25. The A4 (Piccadilly) is also within easy reach of Mayfair, running through Kensington and Hammersmith to join the M4 at Chiswick.
Points of interest
Mayfair is named after the annual 15-day May Fair that, from 1686 to 1764, took place on the Shepherd Market site after the fair was moved from Haymarket in St. James’s.
When the fair first came to the area, it was not long after the Great Plague had left its mark on the capital. People were looking for an opportunity to have fun and forget their woes. The May Fair soon became a byword for music, dancing and merriment (and some less desirable activities). Eventually, a core group of aristocrats had the fair closed down because of the undesirable elements it was attracting to the area.
Mary Davies, the daughter of a wealthy banker, inherited 100 acres of ‘swampy meads’, including the site of the May Fair. When she married into the wealthy Grosvenor family, Mayfair began its journey towards the place it is today.
During the mid-17th to mid-18th century, Mayfair rose in standing to become a fashionable residential district built by a number of landlords, including the Grosvenor family. In 1724, Mayfair became part of the new parish of St. George Hanover Square, the boundaries of which extended to Bond Street, Oxford Street, Hyde Park, Belgravia and almost to Regent Street and Piccadilly.
In the 19th century, the Rothschild family bought large areas of Mayfair, while the freehold for much of Mayfair continues to belong to the Crown Estate.
As one might expect, Mayfair boasts more than its fair share of famous residents, past and present. HRH Queen Elizabeth II was born in Bruton Street and lived in Mayfair as an infant. Mayfair has also been home to numerous British Prime Ministers, including Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Robert Peel, William Pitt the Younger, and Sir Winston Churchill.
A number of French aristocrats in exile from the French Revolution took up residence in Mayfair, perhaps to stay close to Britain’s political, social and cultural pulse. In addition, several key American political figures and US Ambassadors, including John Adams, have resided in the area.
The famous French composer, Frederick Handel, spent the last 30 years of his life in Mayfair. These days, it continues to be a hub for musicians, celebrities and models, thanks to its central location and exclusive facilities.
Living in Mayfair
The distribution and allocation of commercial and residential properties in Mayfair has been carefully managed to provide a sophisticated living experience. People living in Mayfair have some of the finest shops, boutiques and restaurants in London on their doorstep.
Although people living in the area praise the excellent transport links, many comment that everything they need is within walking distance.
Mayfair is a safe, desirable area to live. The great many squares and parks nearby, as well as the scale of many of the properties, leads to a sense of space and a more leisurely pace of life than in other parts of London.
Over recent years, there has been a shift to convert many of the buildings back to residential properties, which has helped create a revived sense of community. The Grosvenor Estate still owns approximately 30% of Mayfair and has invested in improving the roads, paths and shops in the area.
Multi-million pound residential developments and the opening of new art galleries, hotels and restaurants are all helping Mayfair reclaim its top spot in London’s property market.
Shopping in Mayfair
Mayfair offers a world-famous shopping experience, and people travel from far and wide to enjoy the range of exclusive designer shops, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs in the area. The area is home to the Burlington Arcade, which is one of London’s most luxurious shopping areas.
In the Bond Street area of Mayfair, you will find a broad array of commercial art galleries, as well as international auction houses such as Bonhams, Christies and Sothebys. Antique lovers enjoy exploring Gray’s Antique Market for rare items, artwork and out-of-print books.
Savile Row is a street in Mayfair that is known principally for its bespoke tailoring for men.
Working in Mayfair
Mayfair is mainly a commercial district, boasting a high concentration of businesses that are situated in a mix of converted houses and new buildings. There is a concentration of private banks, hedge funds, wealth managers, real estate businesses and embassies in the area. The US consulate takes up the entire west side of Grosvenor Square, which is also home to the Canadian High Commission.
Mayfair is also home to a number of fine jewellers, antiques’ dealers, designer furniture manufacturers, prestige car companies, health and beauty spas, business services, and luxury travel firms – in other words, companies that support the lifestyle enjoyed by local residents. Exclusivity and prestige are very much the emphasis.
Education in Mayfair
Mayfair has a good selection of schools nearby. In-demand primary schools in the area include St. Peter’s Eaton Square CofE Primary School, St. George’s Hanover Square CofE Primary School, Soho Parish CofE Primary School, Queen’s College London, Connaught House School and St. Vincent’s Roman Catholic Primary School.
Popular secondary schools include Davies Laing and Dick College, Queen’s College London, Abbey College, Halcyon London International School, The St. Marylebone Church of England Bridge School, Westminster City School, and the world-famous Sylvia Young Theatre School.
The Good Schools Guide and Ofsted reports provide excellent starting points for more information.
All of London’s colleges and universities are within easy reach of Mayfair, thanks to its central location and excellent transport links.
Sports and leisure in Mayfair
The quality of life enjoyed in Mayfair is very high. The area has an exclusive feel and residents enjoy a relaxed pace of life thanks to the attractive scenery, nearby open spaces and wide range of amenities on their doorstep.
Thanks to its central location, Mayfair offers easy access to all the sports and leisure facilities London has to offer.
There is a high concentration of leisure centres and gyms within Mayfair itself.
Places to visit
Throughout the year, at any time of day and well into the night, Mayfair is a thriving hub of activity, as office workers and tourists move from A to B. Popular tourist attractions in or local to the area include the Royal Academy of Arts, The Handel House museum, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, and New Bond Street.
Many tourists like to enjoy afternoon tea at world-famous five-star hotels such as Claridge’s, The Dorchester, The Ritz, The May Fair, The Lancaster, and The Langham.
Claridge’s designer rooms start from £450 per night with penthouse apartments costing as much as £4,644 per night. The five-star hotel is famous for its Christmas tree which, each year, is designed by someone notable in the fashion industry.
The Dorchester is one of the most prestigious luxury hotels in the world and it regularly attracts overnight stays from the rich and famous. Room rates start from approximately £445 per night.
One of the great pleasures of living or working in Mayfair is exploring hundreds of acres of open space provided by nearby Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park. Outdoor pursuits abound in the form of tennis, riding, boating, walking, cycling and even roller-blading.
Mayfair is the most expensive location on the Monopoly board, and for good reason. A substantial quantity of residential property remains in Mayfair. With luxury hotels, restaurants and a host of exclusive shops on the doorstop, residential property prices are among the highest in the world. Of course, the W1J and W1K postcodes are also among the most desirable in the world.
In many ways Mayfair has managed to retain a village feel, despite the concentration of commercial properties close by. The area offers a mix of gorgeous grand mansions, sweeping apartment buildings, historic townhouses, and exquisite mews houses.
Many of the property buyers in Mayfair represent international businesses (overseas buyers account for 70% of house sales). Rental properties tend to attract trusts, estates and portfolio landlords.
Towards the end of 2014, four luxury apartments in a development with views of Buckingham Palace broke the price record for properties in Mayfair. A total of 18 out of 34 properties in the development at Clarges Mayfair were sold even though work only recently began on the site. These sales have so far amassed a total of £210 million or approximately £11.6 million per apartment.
Zoopla puts the average asking price for a semi-detached property in Mayfair at £6,523,122, although the average asking price across all property types is £4,914,000. Prices for semi-detached properties have risen by £150,517 over the last 12 months. The average rent asking price in
Mayfair is £13,727 pcm (Source: Zoopla) but it’s fair to say that this average is high because of the number of luxury apartments with maid, linen and grocery service listed on the site.
Figures from Foxtons paint a slightly more conservative picture with three-bedroom houses selling for £2,921,124 on average, and rent for a similar sized property sitting at around £2,312 per week.
About Kempton Carr Croft
Kempton Carr Croft is a multi-disciplined firm of Chartered Surveyors offering independent, professional advice and services for residential and commercial property and land. With local offices in Gerrards Cross, Mayfair – London, Staines, Windsor, Reading, Basingstoke and Farnham supporting our head office in Maidenhead, we are well positioned to provide property solutions to clients throughout London, the Thames Valley and the South. View our full range of services to see how we can assist you.