OK, let’s be blatantly honest for just a moment. For most of us, a full-blown shopping spree in one of London’s wealthiest neighbourhoods is just a dream. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t dream, right? Needless to say, the glitz and glamour of Mayfair’s illustrious celebrity haunts attract visitors from all around the world, with all kinds of budgets at their disposal. And while Mayfair might be the stomping ground of the London elite, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t have a bit of fun there too!
A wander around the glamorous London suburb will reveal more than a few hidden treasures that will make you feel like a celeb (without breaking the bank).
Where to go
I am a self-professed magpie, and nowhere shines brighter than Old Bond Street. With sparkling display windows of diamonds, designer clothes, and gorgeous vintage watches, you hardly know where to turn your head. The dizzying opulence is almost overwhelming, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be in your element.
After being gifted a gorgeous timepiece by his parents a few years back, it’s fair to say David loves his luxury watches. So while I’m dashing from Cartier to Tiffany & Co. to get my jewellery fix, he’s checking out the Rolex boutique to get inspiration for his next virtual shopping spree. Here’s a handy hint: if you love the watches but not the prices, copy us and search for some second-hand deals online. The watches are still in great condition and if you look hard enough, you can find some jaw-dropping bargains!
Turn the corner onto Piccadilly, however, and you’ll find yourself outside Fortnum and Mason. This extravagant department store offers everything a gourmand could want and more. From rare teas and fine wines to generous hampers (you know how much I love a hamper), if you’re into gourmet grub, you absolutely should not miss this foodie wonderland. But don’t worry if posh nosh isn’t your thing; Fortnum and Mason also have an extensive beauty department and a gigantic selection of bespoke homeware to add a touch of decadence to your living space, so there’s something for everyone here.
What to Eat
After meandering through the beautiful streets of Mayfair, it’s time to replenish all those calories. Thankfully, this neighbourhood is by no means lacking when it comes to excellent eateries. With a hip bar or restaurant on practically every corner, all you need to work out is what you fancy.
If, like me, you’re on a less-than-celebrity budget, there’s still a huge selection of restaurants and cafes to get your fine-dining fix. We start a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace Gardens, with Iran Restaurant, a firm favourite among tourists with a penchant for Persian cuisine. The restaurant’s mouth-watering menu packs in a wide
range of authentic dishes for meat-lovers and veggies alike. My tip? Leave room for dessert! Maybe it’s my sweet tooth talking, but that rich, flaky baklava is simply to die for.
In the mood for some Mediterranean flavours? Then head up the road to Cicchetti, an Italian restaurant, for gourmet dining at a fraction of the cost. I don’t know about you but I get serious food envy, which makes Cicchetti’s tapas-inspired small portions ideal. That way, you can order a few things for yourself, or – if you can bear it – to share. With its first-class cuisine, sleek interior, and welcoming staff, the restaurant has earned an exceptional reputation, so make sure you book in advance as this place gets packed!
If you really want a taste of the high life, treat yourself to an afternoon tea at The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. I’ve raved about my love of afternoon tea before, but the selection on offer at The Dorchester is on a whole new level. With its vintage furniture and lavish decor, the opulent Promenade area of the hotel is the perfect setting for this quintessentially English tradition.
The legendary hotel certainly pulls out all of the stops. With the attentive staff pampering you before you even set foot in the door, you’ll definitely feel like a celebrity – and you might even spot one too! Starting at £55 per person, it may be one of the priciest cuppas out there, but for the quality of the service, the food, and the overall experience, it’s absolutely worth it.