The Mayfair & Marylebone Guide
Home to some of the world’s best hotels like The Dorchester and The Berkeley, all the major international galleries and auction houses, designer flagships, exclusive private clubs, and many of the Michelin star restaurants, Mayfair has always been a haven for the well-heeled, though Marylebone is quickly catching up. Ever since Andre Balasz’ Chiltern Firehouse landed in this quiet neighborhood, the scene has completely transformed, with many of the big names and starry arrivals clamoring to open here.
Picturehouse Cinema CentralGreat Windmill St. & Shaftesbury Ave., Piccadilly | +44.87.1902.5747
Picturehouse is known for taking old movie theaters and jazzing them up with plush decor, all-day cafés, and bars. The newest of the group, right smack in central London in the Trocadero is no exception, with a much more contemporary look that makes you feel like you've walked into a big, clubby bar rather than a movie theater. You sort of have, in that the top floor is an exclusive member's bar with a terrace that provides great views of the bustling surroundings. And oh, there's the seven theaters themselves which have undergone a massive renovation and now have comfier red velvet seats and better screens (with cool retro curtains).
David Zwirner Gallery24 Grafton St., Mayfair | +44.20.3538.3165
The London branch of this NYC-based gallery operates out of an elegantly restored Georgian townhouse in Mayfair. It's a fittingly grand setting considering David Zwirner's stable of contemporary artists is impressive to say the least: Francys Alÿs, Jockum Nordström, and Luc Tuymans have all shown here.
Hauser & Wirth23 Savile Row, Mayfair | +44.207.287.2300
With successful gallery outposts in New York, Zurich, and London, Hauser & Wirth is one of the most respected names in contemporary art. Rather than rely solely on the heavy hitters (Louise Bourgeoise, Dan Graham, Eva Hesse's estate), they give wall space to up-and-coming talent like Rashid Johnson and Bharti Kher, too.
Royal AcademyBurlington House, Picadilly | +44.20.7300.8000
With graduates like J.M.W. Turner, David Hockney, John Constable and many, many others, The Royal Academy is simultaneously one of England's most competitive art schools and also one of its most inventive exhibition spaces. The students and remarkable-in-their-own-right faculty make the Academy more of a community rather than just a space to experience great art. Don't miss their annual Summer Exhibition: A tradition since 1769(!), it's an enormous open-entry show with submissions from around the world that's meant to offer insight into future art-world trends.
Timothy Taylor Gallery15 Carlos Pl., Mayfair | +44.20.7409.3344
Step through the door of this beautiful Mayfair building and into a super sleek space for some great modern and contemporary art. There are some big names here, including Andy Warhol.
The Wallace CollectionHertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone | +44.20.7563.9500
A family of great art collectors—the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace—accumulated art by some of the world's most renowned artists of the 14th to the 19th centuries. Work by Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Fragonard, and Watteau is all displayed in their former home. Major pluses: Admission is free and the cafe is stunning.
Phillips de Pury Auctions30 Berkeley Sq., Mayfair | +44.20.7318.4010
This fabled house offers exhibitions and auctions of a diverse range of modern art, design, photography, and jewelry. The expansive building, right on Berkeley Square is a thing of beauty in and of itself.
Lyndsey Ingram20 Bourdon St., Mayfair | +44.20.7629.8849
London is so packed with incredible galleries and cultural institutions that it’s daunting to know even where to begin. Which is why we’d point you here. Lynsey Ingram’s tiny gallery is almost hidden down Bourdon Street, but once you find it, you’ll discover an exciting collection of post-war prints from artists like Francis Bacon, Will Cotton, and Peter Doig. Ingram worked for Sotheby’s for years before going it alone, and her knowledge and eye is evident here. And aside from the art, it’s stocked with catalogues and comfy chairs, and Ingram herself is usually on hand for any questions about the works you find most interesting.