Believed to be an ancient haunt of the Romans, London’s most exclusive district has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Mayfair began life in the modern era as nothing more than a scattering of fields and farm land until the annual St. James’s fair arrived to shake things up.

Otherwise known as the May Fair, this vibrant festival centred on and around what is now Shepherd’s Market, just north of Piccadilly. Performers and merchants came from across London to entertain revellers, which satiated the masses from 1686 up until 1764, when upper class residents successfully petitioned an end to frivolities as they claimed the fair lowered the tone of their increasingly affluent neighbourhood.

That neighbourhood was primarily founded through the marriage of 12 year old Mary Davies and Sir Thomas Grosvenor. Davies came from a family of shrivners who owned 500 acres of land west of the city, with 100 acres lying south of Oxford Street and east of Park Lane being particularly valuable to potential developers. Whilst building had already begun in the late 17th century, it was not until the couple’s son, Sir Richard Grosvenor, joined forces with surveyor Thomas Marlowe that today’s Mayfair truly began to take shape.

The first of the district’s three major squares arose in 1717, named Hanover Square after King George I, Elector of Hannover. A decade later, Mayfair was absorbed into the new parish of St. George Hanover Square, which stretched as far east as Old Bond Street and continued into Hyde Park to the west, with Oxford Street and Piccadilly providing the borders to the north and south. The Grosvenor family, later claiming the Dukes of Westminster titles, still owned a substantial part of the area, developing opulent residential quarters for the aristocracy surrounding Mayfair’s glorious centrepiece, Grosvenor Square.

Whilst the Grosvenors held the monopoly on the district’s northern estates, the equally prosperous Berkeley family were busy developing in the south, with the foundation of Berkeley Square and its surrounding grandiose residences. Throughout the 18th century, wealthy Londoners continued to flood to this new and attractive neighbourhood, owing to Mayfair’s greater expansion. The district remained a hotspot for the rich and famous up until the 1920s, as the financial crisis forced many inhabitants to move to the suburbs or relocate to America.

The Second World War witnessed a further shift in occupants, as many businesses headed to the area to escape the Blitz. The district retained its corporate edge until very recently, with the past two decades embracing something of a revival, replacing offices with luxurious family homes, top notch restaurants and deluxe boutiques, returning Mayfair to its former glamorous glory.

Categories Within Mayfair

Albemarle Street Berkeley Square Berkeley Street Burlington Arcade Carlos Place Conduit Street Curzon Street Dover Street Hanover Street New Bond Street New Burlington Place Old Bond Street Old Burlington Street Oxford Street Park Lane Piccadilly Piccadilly Circus Regent Street Royal Arcade Savile Row

Popular Mayfair Searches...

Bars Mayfair Restaurants Mayfair Shops Mayfair Hotels Mayfair Museums Mayfair Pubs Mayfair

Area of London: (select all / unselect all)

Categories: (select all / unselect all)

PenhaligonsTop Pick

16-17 Burlington Arcade Piccadilly , Mayfair, London , W1J 0PL

Shopping in Style Mayfair Burlington Arcade

Post Office (Albemarle Street)Top Pick

43-44 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4TA

Living Life in Style Working in Style Mayfair Albemarle Street

SketchTop Pick

9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2XG

Eating in Style Bars Restaurants Mayfair Conduit Street

Vivienne WestwoodTop Pick

44 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YL

Shopping in Style Mayfair Conduit Street


17-19 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2QH

Eating in Style Restaurants Mayfair Maddox Street

34 Mayfair

34 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London, W1K 2HD

Eating in Style Restaurants Mayfair Grosvenor Square

45 Park Lane

45 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1PN

Sleeping in Style Hotels Mayfair Park Lane

Home to: CUT (at 45 Park Lane)

Al Hamra Restaurant

31-33 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London, W1J 7PT

Eating in Style Restaurants Mayfair Shepherd Market

American Bar (at the Beaumont)

The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London, W1K 6TF

Nights out in Style Bars Mayfair

Part of The Beaumont

Annabel's Wine Cellar

3 Hay's Mews, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PU

Nights out in Style Mayfair Nightclubs Hay's Mews

Page 1 of 17 (showing 25 listings from a total of 416)

Mayfair on facebook

Mayfair on Wikipedia

Mayfair, London Map

Mayfair Photos

Mayfair in the News

Mandarin Oriental unveils plans for second London hotel near Oxford Street

Published: Tue 19th Dec 2017 09:40 PM

Residents and business asked to say ‘no’ to Oxford Street plans

Published: Mon 18th Dec 2017 10:30 AM

Grace Dent reviews Pufferfish at Mahiki Kensington: The bouji brigade are all heading there

Published: Thu 23rd Nov 2017 09:04 AM

Chanel to expand in London with new Mayfair office

Published: Wed 18th Jan 2017 12:17 PM

A-List Celebs Party at Drama Park Lane

Published: Tue 12th Jul 2016 12:40 PM

From Our Blog

Click here for more articles
about living a great life in London from our London blog

Blue Plaques in London

View All Blue Plaques in London