Temporary art exhibits are exciting not just for locals but for tourists like me who happen to magically be in town at the right time. In February, I was so excited to see Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy of Arts, examining how gardens and art intertwine from the 1860’s to the 1920’s. The Agapanthus Triptych by Monet in the final room of the exhibit has not been seen together since his son sold the paintings individually after Monet’s death; it was stunning. The other featured artists were also amazing: Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee.


(Photo is of Christmas decorations from 2014.)

Mayfair, a posh section of the City of Westminster well-known to Regency fans, isn’t limited just to the Royal Academy of Arts or the impressive Ritz and Claridge’s hotels (both incidentally known for excellent afternoon teas and dinners). You can also find a cocktail at Mr. Fogg’s Residence, an ode to Around the World in 80 Days. A stroll along Oxford Street or through Burlington Arcade (an enclosed sidewalk) will give you a sense of how the other half lives. Mayfair ends at Green Park, which is a lovely stroll and has activities throughout the year. If you are there in the evening, be sure to look for some of the last gas lights in London in the park.

However, my favorite part of Mayfair is Berkeley (pronounce Bark-lee) Square. It’s a very small, unassuming park that became famous through Vera Lynn’s “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” that was a hit during World War II. If you find yourself in Mayfair, take a moment to see this park and listen to the song.