The latest in my series of London neighborhood guides is what to do in Mayfair and Marylebone.
Mayfair and Marylebone are a pair of neighborhoods in central London known for being trendy places to live and shop. With many high-end hotels located in Mayfair and Marylebone, you just might find yourself staying there.
What to do in Mayfair and Marylebone
Museums in Mayfair and Marylebone
The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection is a former estate turned museum that reminded me of the mansions in Newport – but with more art. The main focus of the collection is oil paintings, but you will also see an armory, illuminated manuscripts in pristine shape, and some furniture.
Go because admission is free (but please donate the suggested amount of just £5), because the mix of art and antiquities means there is something that will catch your interest, and because the glass covered courtyard will make you feel like you are dining outside even when the weather isn’t agreeable.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
The recent television series and films have made this a very popular destination. If you don’t have time to see the museum, you can stop into the shop which has a fun variety of Sherlock themed products. Or you can buy your ticket in the shop and proceed to the tour.
The tour takes you through the Baker Street residence where Sherlock and Doctor Watson “lived”. You can see Holmes’ office and desk, and his bedroom. The attic has some very random and creepy wax figures. It’s fun and cheeky, but slightly pricy with a £15 entrance fee. For comparison, the Charles Dickens Museum, where a real historical figure lived has an entrance fee of £9.50.
According to the tour guide, between one third and one half of the museum’s visitors think that Sherlock Holmes was a real man and that they are visiting his home. I am sure that you already knew that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Sites to See in Mayfair and Marylebone
As its name suggests, Marble Arch is a large marble-covered triumphal arch on the border of Mayfair, Marylebone, and Hyde Park. Historically, it was a state entrance to Buckingham Palace and only the Royal Family and the King’s Troop were permitted to pass through the arch.
The arch was dismantled and moved when Buckingham Palace was enlarged in the 1840s. It was moved again in the 1960s when Park Lane was widened. The rebuilt arch has three rooms in it; they were used as a police station for over 100 years!
Today the landmark serves as an entrance to Hyde Park.
One of London’s largest parks, Hyde Park is to London what Central Park is to New York City. You can enjoy open water swimming, boating, tennis, horseback riding, concerts, and events at this park. There are also multiple cafes, gardens, and playgrounds.
At Christmastime, the park is home to Winter Wonderland, a massive festival that combines global foods, a christkindlmarkt, amusement park rides, ice skating rinks, beer tends, and more. Entrance is free, so the line to get in is long, the trick is to buy a ticket for something (like ice skating) so you can get in the expedited line.
Shopping in Mayfair and Marylebone
Oxford Street is the busiest shopping street in London, and the divider between the Mayfair and Marylebone neighborhoods. There are three tube stations that run along Oxford Street: Marble Arch, Bond Street, and Oxford Circus, which make the street easily accessible.
At Christmastime Oxford Street is grandly decorated with holiday decorations, and the stores have elaborate window displays. You will probably be familiar with many of the big name retailers on Oxford Street which include everything from Zara to Dior.
If you watched the television series (the first two seasons are fantastic) you know that Mr. Selfridge invented the concept of a modern day department store. This large shop is similar to Bloomingdales, and it has an excellent food hall. It is located on Oxford Street and is across from St. Christopher’s Place.
Bond Street runs perpendicular to Oxford Street, and is where you can find shops like Hermes, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton.
Regent Street runs along the border of Mayfair and Soho from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus. Like Oxford Street and Bond Street, you will find flagship stores for major retailers and plenty of holiday decorations in November and December. Both Liberty London and the giant toy store Hamley’s are on the Soho side of Regent Street.
While Oxford Street and Bond Street are crowded and touristy, Mount Street is the place to leisurely shop at high-end retailers without the crowds.
Mount Street is home to shops like Goyard, Oscar de la Renta, Celine, and Christina Louboutin.
Marylebone High Street
This simply charming street is where you can find pubs covered in flowers, cafes with sidewalk seating, and a mix of local independent boutiques and national retailers.
The stores aren’t as high-end as Mount Street; it is affordable with a neighborhood feel.
Bookstores are so rare these days, and I have a soft spot for London’s neighborhood bookshops. This large bookshop can be found on Marylebone High Street.
I will admit that I wrongly assumed that the prices that this leather goods store would be sky high since their products are so gorgeous. I was wrong! When it comes to beautiful leather bags, the prices aren’t bad at all. Stop in when you visit Marylebone High Street.
St. Christopher’s Place
This square off of Oxford Street is home to shops and restaurants, including many British retailers like Whistles, Mulberry, and Hobbs.
Since St. Christopher’s Place is a narrow passageway, it can be easy to miss.
The Royal Arcade
A small passageway in Mayfair that is too pretty to miss.
The London Beatles Store
You will find this shop which sells all things Beatles just beside the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
Where to Eat in Mayfair and Marylebone
Mr. Fogg’s Residence
One of the collection of bars inspired by Around the World in 80 Days, Mr. Fogg’s Residence is meant to feel like you have stepped back in time and into the home of the eccentric couple Phileas and Auoda Fogg.
The decor and the cocktails commit to the theme, but the unpretentious staff makes your feel at home. The cocktails are gourmet, carefully constructed, completely unique, and wonderful. The vast menu of drinks covers all types of spirits and accommodates all palates.
I sipped a drink called the £20,000 Wager made with hibiscus infused gin, Sipsmith Sloe gin, raspberry leaf syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and rhubarb bitters. So inventive, and so satisfying that I ordered a second round. Many of the cocktails are directly inspired by the novel through use of ingredients tied to places Mr. Fogg visited.
Reservations are a must – it’s a popular spot. On weekends, afternoon tea is available, but again, make a reservation.
This Mediterranean spot and sister restaurant to Ottolenghi came highly recommended by some of my readers, and it did not disappoint! Technically, it is across the street from Mayfair in Soho, but I don’t want you to miss out on this gem. The downstairs has communal seating tables, and if you are lucky you can get a spot without a reservation. I had a twice cooked half chicken with lemon salt and a chili sauce plus and order of truffle polenta fries with a polenta aioli. The food is beautiful and unlike anything I have seen before – in a good way.
The Ivy Cafe Marylebone
The Ivy has a handful of restaurants and cafes in London, and they are all beautiful, and the food is very good. It’s one of my go-to London restaurants. While I haven’t been to this particular location, I have eaten at enough of The Ivy properties to feel confident that you will like it, especially since the menus are very similar at all locations. If you need a quick afternoon pick-me-up stop in for a cream tea – which is a pot of tea and a couple of scones with clotted cream and jam. (Photo from The Ivy Chelsea Garden).
Charles and I love this Indian restaurant. It’s more formal and elegant than the curry houses on Brick Lane, and the decor that mimics a railcar is lighthearted and fun. The menu is inspired by the tiffin tin carriers in Mumbai which focuses the menu and gives it authenticity – it doesn’t feel as Westernized as other Indian restaurants. Bottom line, I hope you dine here.
I haven’t made it here yet, but the afternoon tea this five-star hotel comes very highly recommend by people I trust.
This small cafe is one of London’s many instagram famous eateries. It is known for it’s floral wall which you can find in the downstairs of the cafe. I hear it can be quite busy, but it wasn’t when I stopped in for a midday coffee on a weekday.
Brown’s is one of the best places to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. This is the type of afternoon tea that involves so much food that you hardly need dinner.
Not to be confused with the hotel, this is one of the best places to try British food. I love the steak and Guinness pie.
More London Travel Guides:
5 Day London Itinerary
150+ Things to Do in London
What to do in the City of London
What to do in Soho
What to Do in Notting Hill
What to Do in Chelsea and Kensington
What to Do in Camden
What to Do in St. Johns Wood
What to Do in London at Christmastime
Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
London Packing List
24 British Foods to Try in London
Can’t Miss London Restaurants
What to Know about Visiting London