Visit London Blog » mayfair Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 5 Pie Restaurants in London Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:00:05 +0000 The Windmill

Pies have been served across the capital for centuries, whether in the East End by bakers on carts or in the west at Twickenham, where there’s even an island named after the eel pies that were served to passing boatmen.

To celebrate the start of British Pie Week, we look into one of London’s age-old but often underrated dishes with our pick of London’s best places for pies.

The Windmill – Mayfair

The Windmill's game pieAlthough many pubs claim to be ‘pie specialists’, The Windmill is one such establishment that can safely stand by its love for the pastry-cased delicacy. Boasting its own pie club with thousands of members, not one but two dedicated pie rooms, and even a pie-focused YouTube channel sharing their talents in pie making, this is definitely a place for pie enthusiasts. Try the award-winning steak and kidney version for a warming, meaty hug.

Old Bank of England – The City of London

It’s no surprise this spacious City pub serves demon pies considering the Victorian legend of its Fleet Street site – it was allegedly flanked by Sweeny Todd’s barber shop and the house of his mistress, Mrs. Lovett. As

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the fictional story goes, Todd murdered his clients below in the tunnels and vaults and used their bodies as pie fillings with help from his lover. Today, the Old Bank of England has less barbaric neighbours, and serves far more appetising pies with revived classic British fillings.

The Newman Arms – Marylebone

The Newman ArmsThis pie-focused pub in Marylebone is another with a special pie room upstairs, where you can tuck into one of the pies or suet puddings featuring the likes of chicken, gammon and leek or stilton and mushroom; each lovingly crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Once a regular haunt of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, The Newman Arms has a long history in serving fine beer; this continues to this day with a number of ales on tap.

M. Manze – Southwark

The Manze family pie dynasty – at one point the family owned 14 pie and mash shops in London – started here at 87 Tower Bridge Road in 1902, when Michele Manze set up his self-titled shop, M. Manze. Now run by Michele’s grandsons, London’s longest continuously opened pie and mash shop serves homemade pies, mash and the classic green liquor; as well as cockney classic, jellied eels.

Goddard’s at Greenwich – Greenwich

Get your pie fix every day at this restaurant that also serves eels, mash and liquor as were traditionally plated up in the Victorian era – the original family shop in Deptford opened in 1890 and has since closed, but the family name lives on in its location just a few steps away from the Royal Museums Greenwich. ForFamily-run Goddard's at Greenwich those not so keen on river-dwelling delicacy, try Goddard’s at Greenwich‘s pies with fillings such as steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom or the veggie Banks pie.

Pie Week Events 2014

Make sure to look out for British Pie Week events, such as a charity pork pie-off at Princess Victoria and a pie-filling competition and pie-eating rewards at The Water Poet in Spitalfields. The Windmill, unsurprisingly, is not skipping the fun, with a special quiz night and dinner featuring a new Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Pie.

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We asked Twiggy, the world’s first supermodel and a born and bred Londoner, to share her London Story. Watch the video above.

During our interview Twiggy  mentioned more of her favourite London experiences and  we’ve used this to populate our homepage from 28 to 30 January.

Here’s Twiggy’s top five London experiences:

24 Hours in London? Visit South Bank

“Start at Waterloo Bridge, walk along the South Bank, because you get all the views of the other side of London which is the lovely old part. Then you can walk past The National Theatre and all the little cafes and most weekends there are street fairs and it is brilliant. Then you go along to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and before the Globe is Tate Modern and the OXO Tower, there are so many things to do. Then cross over the Millennium walking bridge and you’ve got that view of St Paul’s. I’ve done filming of London for America and we always do a shot on the Millennium Bridge because of the view of St Paul’s Cathedral. You’ve got to visit St Paul’s and then in the evening go to the theatre and a restaurant – we’ve got some of the best restaurants in the world.”

Royal Albert Hall

“I have lots of very fond memories of lots of wonderful places in London. One has to be the Royal Albert Hall because (you won’t believe this) but I played it one night. I did a concert tour in the 70s and the Royal Albert Hall was one of the dates, and that was scary! To walk out on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall is quite awe inspiring and I live very near there so every time I walk past, the memories are extraordinary, I’ll never forget that night as long as I live.”

Shopping: Established areas and emerging talent

“What girl doesn’t love shopping and London is the best. We’ve always been the best in fashion, I think. You’ve got everything here, whatever your budget is and we’ve got amazing shopping streets; Bond Street, Regent Street, Knightsbridge. I go walking to Kensington, Chelsea and the little shops. Then you’ve got all the new shops in Brick Lane, Shoreditch, all the lovely markets, it’s brilliant.

I think London is a brilliant place for giving new, young talent a chance. I think that is how the Brick Lane, Shoreditch area grew up, really. Young designers and artists moved there and that has grown up out of that world. It’s still the lovely old part of London which is the bit I love, all the Georgian and Victorian houses and streets.”

The V&A

“The Victoria & Albert Museum in Knightsbridge is probably my favourite museum because it really is extraordinary and for me, because of my designing and my love of clothes, this museum has got everything. One of my memories is of the Indian Jewellery room. I remember coming in 25 years ago and there was a pale pink rock and it was an uncut ruby and I’ve never forgotten it.

You can come into this museum and lose yourself for hours and [it’s great] if you want to do research on fashion and clothes. I’ve worked with great designers in the past and they’ve made clothes for me that have been shown here. The V&A does wonderful special exhibitions and the Museum itself is free to everyone – what more could you ask for?

The House Of Leonard, Mayfair

Twiggy got her big break in modelling in the mid 60s at the age of 14: “Somebody saw me who worked on a magazine and they sent me to have my hair done at a very posh salon in Mayfair, The House of Leonard. Leonard cut my hair in that very short, boyish cut and said he wanted to photograph the haircut. He got Barry Lategan to photograph me. He hung the picture in his salon. I went back to school and that’s all it should have been. A journalist who was also a customer in the salon, saw the picture and said, ‘who is the girl?’ and Leonard said, ‘it’s a young schoolgirl, her nickname is Twiggy’. She said ‘I want to meet her’ and two weeks later she wrote a huge article about me naming me the Face of ’66. That was the day my life changed forever.”

The House of Leonard was in Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, W1, next door to which you’ll find the Moroccan Embassy today. Although the salon itself is long gone, you can still walk around the area and see where the magic happened.

You’ll discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What are your recommendations for visitors to London?

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GQ’s Dylan Jones on London Menswear: Savile Row Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:00:06 +0000

Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ and chair of London Collections: Men is contributing a series of guest blogs to on why London is the place to be for men’s fashion. 

Savile Row: There is no street more important to the world of menswear than Savile Row. It is here that international menswear designers come when they want to understand the principles of the bespoke suit, here where the international traveller comes when they want to buy the very best tailoring that money can buy.

There is simply no other street like it, nowhere in the world that is so dedicated to men’s clothes. The Row is also more inclusive, more welcoming and more egalitarian than it has ever been. In previous times, the Row was where you went if you were entering “society”, if you were an English gentleman, a man of the cloth or a man of letters. The middle and working classes were only encouraged if they were tradesmen, cutters or chauffeurs. The English class system was one of the strictest in the civilised world, and its manifestation was obvious in Mayfair, not least in Savile Row.

These days, however, the street welcomes the world with beautifully turned pinstripe arms, enveloping a new domestic and international customer. Times have changed, the world has moved on, and Savile Row has finally woken up to the fact that collectively it is one of the most influential fashion hubs in the entire industry.

A decade ago, should you have wandered the Row in search of some retail therapy, and should you have entered the portals of one of the street’s legendary bespoke tailors, you may have been met by an octogenarian gatekeeper who would have sized you up the second you opened your mouth. The cutting rooms would have been quiet, and the process of choosing your suit (the cloth, the cut, the style etc) would have been fairly proscriptive.

Now, though, these rooms are alive with activity, with a new generation of tailor, a new generation of customer, and a sense that far from being part of London’s long established heritage industry, Savile Row is – dare we say it? – hip.

Raise the roof.

London Collections: Men is on 6-8 January 2014

Take a look at our London Menswear Map to explore the evolution of men’s fashion in London during the past 300 years.


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Mayfair Apartments, Room Service and a Swamp: Pam Ann’s London Mon, 19 Mar 2012 11:42:41 +0000

Glamorous in-flight professional Pam Ann has been touring the world for more than a decade, imparting her insider knowledge of the highs and lows – so to speak – of the airline industry.

The creation of Australian comic Caroline Reid, Pam has gathered a cult following in every port with her risqué humour. We caught up with her between long-haul flights and quizzed her about her favourite international hub, London:

VL: Pam, where do you stay when you are in London?
PA: I will be staying in an apartment in Mayfair

VL:  What was the most decadent night out you have had in London?
PA: There’s been so many and it’s been so decadent I can’t remember

VL: Where do you think serves the best breakfast in London?
PA: I am never up for breakfast but I guess the Dean St Townhouse have a great room service menu

VL: Which is your favourite London icon?
PA: The London Eye but they should make the pods open air and make it really fast

VL: Do you have a London secret?
PA: Heathrow’s T5 was built on a swamp

VL:  What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in London?
PA: The sun

VL: What do you think “makes” a typical Londoner?
PA: Sense of humour

VL: What do you miss most when you’re away from London?
PA: Irony

VL: Given the necessary skills, which Olympic event would you choose to win Gold in?
PA: Gymnastics

VL: What advice will you be giving athletes flying in to London for the Games?
PA: Don’t fly Ryan Air

Don’t miss Pam Ann’s latest show, You F’ Coffee at The Bloomsbury Theatre from 17 April to 5 May. Book your tickets now through

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Win! Day 20: A Luxury London Theatre Break Tue, 20 Dec 2011 10:00:51 +0000

Enter day 20 of our Christmas advent competition to win a night’s stay at a luxury hotel and tickets to see smash-hit musical Wicked in London.

Wicked has been a mainstay of London’s musical scene since 2006, and smashed the 2,000 performance milestone in July 2011. The award-winning musical tells the untold story of the witches of Oz and has entertained audiences across the world.

After the show, the lucky winners will stay at the four-star Flemings Mayfair Hotel, along with a full breakfast in the morning. Not a bad way to start the new year!

Enter now for your chance to win this fantastic London theatre break.

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Art Students Take Over Jewellery Shop Windows in Mayfair Wed, 11 May 2011 12:15:54 +0000 Asprey by Maisie Broadhead and Max Warren Boodles by Kim Gladwin and Silvia Weidenbach Boucheron by Jasleen Kaur

The smart jewellers of Bond Street, Conduit Street and Grafton Street in Mayfair have allowed students from the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins to take over their window displays for a week.

At a private view last night, top-end jewellery shops such as Asprey, Chanel, Cartier and Tiffany were full of students and tutors from London’s top art colleges.

My highlights included a display of intricate paper bees; a rotating case with magnifying glasses trained on a diamond bracelet; and an interactive TV screen where you could see yourself in a princess-like tiara.

The Street Lights project runs until 15 May 2011

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Iceland in London: Texture Restaurant Tue, 30 Nov 2010 11:00:52 +0000

On the advice of our Twitter followers, we chose Michelin-starred restaurant Texture for a representation of Iceland in London. Food bloggers Keith and Lolli from were keen to try some Icelandic cuisine and volunteered to road-test the restaurant for us:

There were several reasons why we were exceptionally excited about dining at Texture, brainchild of sommelier Xavier Rousset (Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons) and Icelandic chef Agnar Sverrisson.

First, we love to dine at Michelin-starred restaurants (which foodie doesn’t?) Second, prior to dining at Texture, we were not overly familiar with Icelandic cuisine, bar the penchant for salmon and seafood, so we were eager to learn more. And finally, we couldn’t resist the restaurant’s accompanying champagne bar!

We had a choice of the Ã  la carte menu, tasting menu or the Scandinavian fish menu. We opted for the fish menu and weren’t disappointed. Xavier Rousset’s selections for the wine list were well-organised and had an abundance of choice. We selected a 2007 Laurent Tribut Chablis, which was a perfect pairing for the impending seafood feast.

Our starters consisted of smoked gravlax loch salmon coated in dill, with dollops of horseradish mustard, cucumber emulsion, cucumber snow and rye bread.  The next course was Scottish scallops, mussels, and root vegetable broth. The main dish was an Icelandic lightly salted cod, prawn and barley risotto, with shellfish sauce.

While we were eating, we noticed Agnar Sverrisson greeting a number of diners. Keith took a few minutes to ask him a few questions about his Icelandic influences (while I cowered in the corner like a shy toddler. I am terrible with famous people). Agnar was cordial, pleasant and very forthright about the fact that he is not in any way trying to create an Icelandic culinary experience.

Texture’s amazing feat was that by the end of the meal we were pleasantly satisfied plus knew that we had enjoyed a truly tasty, innovative and unusual meal. The fact that the food is by most standards healthy shouldn’t detract from the fact that this was a truly darn exciting meal.

If you were expecting a hearty dish of putrescent shark (hakarl) or puffin in milk sauce, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Agnar has gone in an entirely different direction. There were moments where the Icelandic influence was obvious. For instance skyr quenelles (yoghurt-like cheese) served with warm crusty brown bread on wooden boards, or the sourcing of the cod and other seafood from Iceland.

Almost regrettably, we neared the end of meal and finished our coffees in the bar with a generous plate of petit fours; macaroons, pistachio madeleines, cardamom truffles and Fisherman’s Friend meringue lollipops.

Read more of Keith and Lolli’s foodie adventures at

Have you been to Texture? Do you know of any other Icelandic experiences in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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British Wool Week: Sheep on Savile Row Mon, 11 Oct 2010 15:10:04 +0000 Sheep in Savile Row outside Hardy Amies Exmoor Horns sheep in Savile Row Savile Row field day Suits you sir, ooh, suits you. Bespoke tailoring in wool It might look bright, but when this fleece is spun, it will be a more muted heathery toned yarn. Roving Cones of yarn Gary Cooper's Measurements in a customer book at Anderson & Sheppard

To celebrate British Wool Week, the Campaign for Wool have filled Savile Row with grass and sheep! If you’re fanatical about fashion, you’ll probably be aware that wool tailoring is enjoying a massive resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to Matt “The Doctor” Smith‘s Harris Tweed jacket and Benedict Cumberbatch dashing about as Sherlock Holmes in an Inverness Cape. Savile Row is the perfect place to check out the latest menswear trends and indulge in a little bit of luxury.

The Exmoor Horns and Bowmont sheep were happily grazing in the sunshine in central London this morning and will be there all day. Next to the sheep is an exhibition by R Gledhill, who card and spin British wool into yarn which then gets spun into cloth which is then used by Savile Row tailors to make bespoke suits.

All those big boxes of unspun fleece were so soft, colourful and tempting it made me wish I’d popped my spindle in my bag this morning so I could spin a few meters!

If you’re popping along to see the sheep, you might also be excited to know that many of Mayfair’s most distinguished tailors, including Hardy Amies and H.Huntsman & Sons have opened their studios and archives to the public today so you can find out what goes on behind the scenes.

I took a tour of Anderson & Sheppard with Managing Director John Hitchcock who guided me round the shop, office, changing rooms and workshops and showed us (some London College of Fashion students joined in) the details on some funky purple and yellow plus fours suit which won the 2009 Golden Shears competition. John also told us about Alexander McQueen‘s time at Anderson & Sheppard.

You can pop along to see the sheep and enjoy the open day till 6pm tonight. If you can’t make it there are events happening all week, including wool themed windows in many shops across London including Selfridges, Jaeger and Jigsaw. You can follow the design trail at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour to find out more about wool for your home.

Find out more about The Campaign for Wool, British Wool Week and why wool is the ultimate in sustainable, biodegradable and luxurious fashion at

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Monopoly’s Go Location Unveiled on London’s South Bank Wed, 25 Aug 2010 14:28:29 +0000 Monopoly Revolution, the new version of Monopoly. Photo by Jonny Payne Someone needs a get out of jail free card. Photo by Jonny Payne Monopoly prizes to be won in the cash-blowing dome. Photo by Jonny Payne Monopoly Revolution, the new version of Monopoly. Photo by Jonny Payne A large-scale version of the Monopoly scotty dog playing piece. Photo by Jonny Payne The original Monopoly game with its London locations. Photo by Jonny Payne
The mystery has finally been solved. Creators of Monopoly, the quintessential London board game, today unveiled the secret location of the Go square, so I went along to have a look.
While Old Kent Road, Bond Street and Mayfair are all well-known Monopoly locations, the location of Go has been shrouded in mystery, until today. The secret spot has now been revealed as Queen’s Walk on the South Bank, next to the London Eye.

Louisa Nigro, senior brand manager for Monopoly told me: “It’s the 75th anniversary of Monopoly this year so we decided what better way to celebrate it than to solve the mystery of where is Go in London. We worked with the Ordnance Survey people and they used their geometrics and figured out it was actually Queen’s Walk.”

Much to my chagrin as I walked past Go, I was not handed £200 by a kind banker, but there are plenty of other activities capturing the essence of Monopoly lasting until 5pm today.

Nigro said: “We’ve turned Queens Walk into an area of Monopoly madness today including our Monopoly jail, a cash-blowing globe with Monopoly prizes, a Monopoly-branded bus to take people around the landmarks on the board, and also free parking on Regent Street.”

There’s also a chance to play the new version of the game called Monopoly Revolution which has a round board, sound effects and music.

With Go’s location found we can’t help wonderin where the jail is located. Do you have any ideas where it is?

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Dinner and Drinks at Dover Street Restaurant and Bar Mon, 16 Aug 2010 11:15:47 +0000

For lovers of fabulous drinks, food and live music, there is a wonderful place in the heart of Mayfair where you will be treated to delicious cocktails and jazz musicians on any night of the week – Dover Street Restaurant and Bar.

I went along for dinner and drinks last week. The cocktails were delicious and the dinner was superb- I especially enjoyed the scallops.  The band played gorgeous renditions of jazz classics and the whole place was buzzing.  This is worth a visit on more than one occasion.

This lively and popular venue has been entertaining diners for almost 30 years. It offers a French/ Mediterranean menu including scallops, sea bass and roast duck.  All of the food is locally sourced and last orders are at 2am for those late night diners.

Of course, the music is the main draw and with a nightly programme including an array of talented jazz musicians, the atmosphere is divine.  The dance floor fills up quickly and the place is transformed into a glamorous bar of days gone by.

The Dover Street Monday Night Sessions have proved immensely popular and with free entry before 10pm, it is a wonderful way to start the week. Check out last week’s Monday Night Session below:

The Dover Street Restaurant and Bar

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