New Jetsetters Best of London Part 1: Marvellous Mayfair
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Tags: Best of London Exploring London Mayfair United Kingdom What to do in London
We have to admit (with some shame we might add), that our trip to London last year was originally designed as simply an “add on”. London was not supposed to be the highlight of our first trip to Europe together, nor did either of us have any particular anticipation that this would be an especially memorable part of the journey . It was planned as a place to recover from jet-lag over a four day period…. and yes okay, do a little sightseeing while we were there. Woops! Were we caught off guard! Despite having only one great weather day, we found ourselves totally blown away by the energy, excitement and vibe we experienced in this intriguing city. If London has never been a place you would be keen on visiting, we’d like to play a part in inspiring you to go – and we can guarantee you will not be bored!
We want to share some of our favorite discoveries with you. Part I is the first in a series entitled “Best of London”. These are all interesting areas that we easily walked to from one of the lovely hotels located in Mayfair. (See our Review of Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel for a recommendation).
Simply strolling the Mayfair streets is a walk down history lane. Named back in the 1600’s for the annual two-week long “May Fair” which took place in Shepherds Market, the district even then was populated by the well-to-do and very well connected. Soon the roughhousing and revelry that took place during the annual fair began to wear out it’s welcome by the upper crust, who preferred their celebrations to be just a tad more refined. Celebrations were moved on to the Fair Field district, leaving “Mayfair ” to the aquiline-nosed, powder-wigged men and carefully corset-bound ladies of the British elite.
Mayfair continued to foster its haute monde proclivities in the 17th & 18th century, with residents such as the Duke of Westminster, the Grosvenor’s and the Rothschild’s putting down very deep, moneyed roots. They invested in grand statues, bubbling fountains & lush flower displays for their parks, and delighted in wide, clean streets filled with shops in which to spend their money and stroll past in their finery.
While it has lost some of the snooty air which it must have emanated in it’s hey day, Mayfair remains a place to “see and be seen” , in the finest sense of the word. And while the ladies may not be wearing corseted gowns, nor the men tall hats & tails, you will see some nattily dressed couples strolling the neighbourhood. Baby strollers here resemble small Rolls Royces, and the “yummy mummy’s” pushing them are perfectly groomed from the tops of their carefully coiffed heads to their Prada bound feet. People watching in London is very entertaining.
It’s also important in London that as you wander, you lift your eyes! A fascinating kingdom frozen in time exists high up along the boulevards, as fascinating “gargoyles” peer down from the rooftops of many of the old buildings. In all shapes and sizes, with wings, beaks, claws, and tails, half-human, half-animal, half-mythical beast, their centuries-old eyes have seen civilizations rise and fall. And explore on foot! Around each corner lies a winding alley, with yet another charming pub filled with the boisterous cheers and chatter of soccer-crazy Brits. With most pubs charging a “cover ” per table to sit while drinking or eating, most Londoners prefer to stand around both inside and out of the inviting doorways, eyes never straying far from the tiny TV screen hitched somewhere up in the corner of a room where yet another soccer match is in play.
The offer of the World’s Best Fish & Chips taunts you from every intimate little restaurant, scrawled in chalk on blackboards alongside the freshly caught Specials of the Day. Inside every bustling pub window, your thirsty eyes are caught by the amber glint of yet another pint of ale. Enjoy our short photo-essay and join us as we wander Mayfair!