This fascinating tour of two of the most well loved areas of London, St James' and Mayfair, lasts for 3 - 3.5 hours. The centrepiece of St James' is the majestic palace built by Henry VIII and as you meander the streets in the shadow of its great gate-tower, you will pass the gentlemen's clubs and elegant outfitters which have been a mecca to royals and gentlemen alike for centuries. Walk a little further north and the tour takes you past the luxurious houses, beautiful gardens and exclusive shops of aristocratic Mayfair before arriving in Shepherd Market which used to be the home to Mayfair's thriving sex industry. On this tour, you can pop in to a variety of shops admiring exquisite displays of china, glass and silverware in one and smelling the delightful aromas of over 150 artisan cheeses in another. You might even get a sample to enjoy?! No food or drink is included in the cost of this tour.
This delightful walking tour of St James' and Mayfair starts under the colonnade of the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, just along from Green Park underground station, at 10.00 a.m. The tour begins by walking through leafy Green Park where your guide Sandy will introduce the royal dynasties which form the backbone of St James' development. Strolling through narrow passages and alleyways, you will arrive in St James' Street with a spectacular view of St James' Palace and the exclusive shops that have served the royals for hundreds of years. You will see where the Queen buys her hats and the Duke of Edinburgh has his shoes and boots made by hand. As we wander by the ancient palace walls, Sandy will explain how it has been at the heart of royal history with tales of births and marriages, deaths and execution. Leaving the palace behind, the tour takes you past the gentlemen's clubs where once upon a time aristocrats won or lost a fortune on the turn of a card, until we reach Jermyn Street, complete with shops dating back to the 1700s. Here, you will pop in to Paxton & Whitfield to admire the exceptional display of artisan cheeses and, if the time is right, maybe sample a few? The tour then wanders through the ground floor of Fortnum & Mason, one of London's most sophisticated department stores, where you will be amazed by the 200 varieties of tea on offer and the sumptuous chocolates for sale! Crossing Piccadilly, the tour moves on to Mayfair and the gorgeous Berkeley Square filled with centuries old plane trees. It is also home to Annabel's, London's most famous nightclub opened only recently following a complete refurbishment. As we leave the square via Mount Street, you will be following in the footsteps of those who used this street as a cut through to watch the hangings at Tyburn - that's Marble Arch to you and me!! South Audley Street is the next destination, Mayfair's most chic shopping street. Whether your taste is guns & rifles, china & glass or high end fashion, there is something for everyone in this street. Walking through Mount Street gardens is like an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the centre of bustling London but that feeling of calm soon disappears as the tour takes you into Shepherd Market where high class prostitutes used to ply their trade. Nowadays, a warren of delightful little alleys hide a desperate past of murder, outrageous behaviour and deceit - Sandy will reveal all! You will find Sandy a fun, entertaining and informative guide. She has your best interests at heart and if you want to stop for a coffee or comfort break, that is fine with her. Sandy will make your tour the best it can be and will ensure that you leave with many happy memories of this grand area. Check out Sandy's website at www.hobnobtours.london and click on the link to Trip Advisor to see what others have thought of Sandy's tours. She has a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for 2017 & 2018.