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A Guide to the Best Attractions in Mayfair

Tuesday January 25, 2022


Mayfair is nestled within the central London borough of the City of Westminster. It’s renowned as being a place for the rich and famous, but on the contrary, is actually a wondrous neighbourhood with plenty to offer everyone.

There’s enough to do in this part of central London to fill a few weeks. From the Royal Academy of Arts to the high-end boutiques and fine dining scene, Mayfair has a lot to offer.

Whether you’re here to learn, eat, shop or just wander around, there’s always something for you to do in Mayfair. We’ve asked some of the top attractions in the area to contribute to this guide so you can find out, first hand, why it is such a great place to visit.

Here are 9 of the best attractions that you can visit in Mayfair.

1. The Cartoon Museum

Located on Wells Street to Mayfair’s East, the Cartoon Museum is a London museum for British cartoons, caricatures and comic strips, owned and operated by the Cartoon Art Trust . It has a library of over 5,000 books and 4,000 comics. The museum issues catalogues and features a changing display of over 250 exhibits from its collection of over 4,000 original cartoons and prints.

The museum is “dedicated to preserving the best of British cartoons, caricatures, comics and animation, and to establishing a museum with a gallery, archives and innovative exhibitions to make the creativity of cartoon art past and present, accessible to all for the purposes of education, research and enjoyment.”

If you’re a cartoon lover, there’s no better place to visit.

63 Wells St, London W1A 3AE

Copyright Jim Stephenson 2019

2. Handel and Hendrix – The Hallelujah Project

Handel House at 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, is a very special historic place. It is where the great composer, George Frederic Handel, lived for 36 years – from 1723 to 1759 – and where he wrote many of his greatest masterpieces, including Messiah.

Handel was the first occupant of 25 Brook Street. He moved in in 1723, when it was newly built. The Hallelujah Project will put back his home as closely as possible to exactly how it would have been when the great man himself lived here.

Their mission is to promote knowledge, awareness and enjoyment of Handel and his music to as wide a public audience as possible. In addition, they also aim to promote the continuing and diverse musical and cultural heritage of 23 Brook Street through its association with Jimi Hendrix who lived here in the late 20th century.

With the Hallelujah project completing in March 2023, this attraction really is a ‘one to watch’ for the future.

25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB

3. Dartmouth House

Located on Charles Street, Dartmouth House is an elegant mansion and home of The English-Speaking Union (ESU), an educational charity dedicated to supporting and equipping young people with the skills and confidence they need to articulate their ideas and communicate them to others.

Dartmouth House has a rich history. The original building was constructed in the mid 18th-century, and was converted by Lord Revelstoke into a beautiful Mayfair townhouse in the late 19th-century. It was used as a family residence for Baron Revelstoke and Lord Dartmouth until the outbreak of war in 1914 when it was converted into a military Red Cross hospital; Dartmouth House today stands as the home of the English-Speaking Union who purchased the house in 1926.

Now the House can hold conferences, seminars and lectures as well as awards dinners and weddings. 30% of all profits raised through Dartmouth House events go directly into funding their ground-breaking innovative educational programmes that can help change young people’s lives.

37 Charles St, London W1J 5ED

Dartmouth House Exterior

4. Curzon Mayfair

Step back in time to a different era with Curzon’s flagship cinema. Rebuilt in 1966, Curzon Mayfair is one of the best surviving and most elaborate cinemas of the post-war period, with its beautiful 60s-style art deco ceiling in the main auditorium. Located amongst the galleries, bars and restaurants of Mayfair, this cinema is a popular venue for red carpet premieres and high profile events.

The Grade II listed building houses the breathtaking and unusual auditorium with a large screen (an impressive 11 metres), a stage perfect for presentations, and two Royal Boxes that add that extra touch of sophistication to the house.

The swish venue is one of London’s most attractive cinemas and has a long history of showing art-house films along-side the most popular films in circulation. If you’re planning on stopping by Mayfair be sure to give Curzon a visit.

38 Curzon St, London W1J 7TY

5. Apsley House

Apsley was the first house on the north side of Piccadilly, located opposite a turnpike with toll houses, and consequently it became known as ‘Number 1, London’. Apart from having arguably the best address in London, Apsley house is also home to an amazing collection of art, from Velazquez and Rubens, as well as a wonderful collection of porcelain and silverware.

Originally the home of the first Duke of Wellington, it has been kept to look the same as it would have looked when he was victorious at Waterloo in 1815. Apsley House was designed and built by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1778 and bought by the Duke in 1817, and retains some of the finest Regency interiors around.

Wellington died in 1852 and his son Arthur, the 2nd Duke, decided to open Apsley House to the public. A ‘Museum Room’ was created where Wellington’s magnificent silver trophies, military memorabilia and gifts of porcelain were exhibited. These can still be seen today.

149 Piccadilly, London, W1

6. Frith Street Gallery

Frith Street Gallery was founded in 1989 by Jane Hamlyn, in a Georgian townhouse at 60 Frith Street, just off Soho Square, London.

Over the past 30 years, the gallery has become renowned for an innovative exhibition programme of leading contemporary artists working across a range of mediums, from painting and sculpture to film, video, installation and performance.

The gallery opened a new, larger space in Golden Square in May 2007 which is where the main exhibition space now resides. In October 2014 the original gallery space at 60 Frith Street was reopened as a venue for artists projects and special one time exhibitions.

With an impressive two locations, there’s no excuse to give Frith Street Gallery a miss!

17-18 Golden Square, London W1F 9JJ
60 Soho Square, Frith St, London W1D 3JJ

7. The National Gallery

Established in 1824 as a new art collection for the enjoyment and education of all, the National Gallery first consisted of 38 pictures, put on display at a house on Pall Mall while a purpose-built gallery was constructed. The Gallery has an impressive total floor area of 46,369 square meters, and now houses a collection of over 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by the French Impressionists dating from the mid-13th century to the 20th century. The new museum opened in 1838, located in Trafalgar Square as it was deemed to be at the heart of London.

The National Gallery is free to visit, and with an impressive collection of stunning artwork there’s no reason not to swing by, even to visit Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ for a couple minutes on your way to your destination.

Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

8. The Royal Institution

The Royal Institution is housed in a Grade I listed building on Albemarle Street and was founded in 1799, it was awarded a Royal Charter a year later in 1800.

The Royal Institution was established to promote scientific education and research, the current Patron is HM The Queen. The Institution is probably best known for its Christmas Lectures – a series of science lectures covering a variety of subjects.

There are a series of science focused activities and tours of the main building as well as being able to visit the Faraday Museum, which is free to visit and provides a unique insight into the research that the Royal Institution has championed. A highlight is Faraday’s magnetic laboratory displayed as it was in the 1850s opposite a current state-of-the-art nanotechnology lab.

In total, fifteen scientists attached to the Royal Institution have won Nobel Prizes and 10 chemical elements, including sodium, were discovered there. If you’re of a science mind, this is the place to visit.

21 Albemarle St, London W1S 4BS

9. The Royal Academy of Arts

Just outside the centre of Mayfair, in Piccadilly, sits the mightily historical Royal Academy of Arts. Founded in 1768, its purpose is to promote the creation and appreciation of visual arts through exhibitions and education.

Having funded a series of incredible artists for over 250 years, the Academy offers an array of different artistic exhibitions, from its permanent collection that features some highly prestigious artists, to its famous annual Summer Exhibition that highlights upcoming contemporary talent.

The Royal Academy presents their collection of art and architecture in free displays throughout its home at Piccadilly, as well as putting on world-class exhibitions of art from around the world, welcoming hundreds of thousands of people to the galleries each year.

If you are an art or history fan, a trip to the Royal Academy of Arts should be very high on your list of things to do when visiting Mayfair.

Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD

Back to Aubaine for some well earned dinner

After your day of fun visiting as much as you can in Mayfair, Aubaine welcomes you with open arms. Aubaine Mayfair provides a quintessentially chic escape from London’s chaotic day-to-day. With its low lighting, rustic fireplace and terrace green room, there’s nothing quite like it.

Make a little time in your day to enjoy our all-day-dining menus. Choose brunch, lunch or dinner (or all three perhaps?) and enjoy freshly-baked pastries and modern French dishes.

Once you’re ready to refuel, you’ll find us around the corner from the beautiful Royal Academy of Arts, serving French cuisine that is exciting, creative and quite simply delicious.

We’ll see you there.

View our Mayfair Restaurant here