Non-trivial tour guide and travel advisor Daryna Venger

Mayfair + Royal academy of art

I am glad to welcome you to Mayfair — where everything is indecently expensive, all things are excessively abundant, and it’s beautiful wherever your gaze lands! The tour consists of three parts — a part of the St.James area, a visit to the Royal Academy of Art, and Mayfair itself. Beginning — Marlborough Gate Kiosk.

The places and towns of St.James (Gentleman’s Quarter) are interesting both for their past and no less exciting present, and among them are secretive gentlemen’s clubs, a hotel that set the standards of luxury in the world, the oldest English literature bookstore in the world, and the oldest department store feeding the Queen and now King, electric lamppost and James Bond bar. Let’s answer the questions what stories, events, buildings, people, and phenomena have made Piccadilly the central street of London? And why is the street named that way at all. We will learn who gentlemen are in general, how the Anglican Church functions, where to buy cheese made according to the old recipes, and visit the 17th-century church by the amazing Christopher Wren.

It is in this part that we will visit the perfume house of the 18th century, which served the British queens Elizabeth and Victoria, Marilyn Monroe, Ian Fleming, and Winston Churchill. You will understand what the role of the court perfumer is, and learn the main ingredient of the wedding fragrances of the British royal family, starting with Queen Victoria. Let’s talk about the durability of perfume and what influences it, discuss the concentration of flavors, and compare the properties of natural and synthetic ingredients. We are also waiting for Queen Elizabeth’s favorite chocolate, carbonated tea, slippers, soap as an art object, and a hat for sleeping in the most beautiful royal arcades.

In the second part of the tour, we are waiting for the first Academy of paintings in Britain, founded by 36 artists in 1768, and headed by Sir Joshua Reynolds. It was the Academy that made it possible to raise the level of art in Britain and determined the taste for the next centuries. Today, the Royal Academy’s permanent collection includes works by British artists such as Reynolds, Turner, and Constable, along with other must-see masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo. The building itself dates back to 1664 and is an eclectic mix of different styles with traces of the fascinating history through which it passed. William Blake also studied here, as well as contemporary artists: Eddie Peak, Pio Abad, and Adham Faramavi.

And for dessert — the third part of the tour — 350-year-old Mayfair, a favorite habitat of the richest people around the world, where historically, after the Big Fire, everyone who could afford it at that time moved. It is so wonderful that the descendants of the first owners still own parts of the district and receive dividends from this. Let’s discuss the Baron’s publisher, who was fishing around the corner, and Franklin Roosevelt’s honeymoon, which also took place here. Take a walk through the ancient market and see the ghostly Downing Street subway station, where films are often filmed. The Beatles and the famous criminals the Craig brothers, the spies, and the Jesuits are all in the area. Let’s discuss the architectural styles that are intertwined and create a unique charm of this place, remember the first London Dandy and a few more ghosts, and finish in a landmark place.

The end of this tour is lunch at Mercato Mayfair — in an old church, a real paradise with eco-friendly authentic cuisine, two floors of world cuisine, with a roof terrace and a wine cellar!