Two of London’s most fashionable and exclusive districts, Mayfair and Belgravia have long been at the heart of life in the capital. Many of the UK’s most famous – and infamous – families have lived in this part of London, with some of the world’s greatest scandals, dramas and events taking place there.
With such a rich history to work with, it’s no surprise that many writers have chosen to set their novels, TV shows and films in the area. Lending fictional works an authentic and intriguing air, Mayfair and Belgravia are the ideal settings for outstanding period dramas.
One of the most recent series to be based in the area was Belgravia, Julian Fellowes’ TV drama set in the mid-19th century. Chronicling the adventures and misadventures of the nouveau riche Trenchard family as they make their way in London Society, the Belgravia TV series offers a fascinating look into life in Georgian London.
If you love the aesthetics of Mayfair and Belgravia, and can’t get enough of TV shows based in these beautiful areas of London, we can help. Here’s our list of the best series that showcase this stunning corner of the capital.
Based on Julian Fellowes’ 2016 novel of the same name, the Belgravia TV drama is the perfect place to start your visual exploration of the district. The series starts just a few days before the Battle of Waterloo, with the ambitious, and newly rich, Trenchard family rubbing shoulders with the elite at the Duchess of Richmond’s infamous Brussels ball.
Beautifully written and beautifully shot, the story then jumps forward around 30 years and takes us to Belgravia, where it follows the Trenchards as they make their way in high society, getting caught in scandals and dramas along the way.
So far, just one series has been released. Luckily for fans of Belgravia, Julian Fellowes’ TV series, another is in the pipeline and should be hitting our screens some time next year.
Upstairs, Downstairs, 1971-75, 2010-12
Upstairs, Downstairs is one of the most popular period dramas of all time. Set in a Belgravia townhouse in the early 1900s, the original adaptation started in 1971 and ran for 68 episodes over five series. In 2010, the BBC revived the programme, making a further two series for viewers to enjoy.
All of the series of Upstairs, Downstairs are set in 165 Eaton Place, a fictional address in the heart of Belgravia. The show depicts the dramas, dynamics and relationships between the servants of the property and the Bellamy family who own it. The head of the household is Lady Marjorie Bellamy, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Southwold. Her husband, Richard Bellamy, is an MP and the son of a country parson.
The first five series of the programme cover some of the most exciting and dramatic years of the 20th century. The first series starts in 1903 and the fifth finishes in 1930. In the intervening years, we see members of the household go off to fight in the First World War, glimpse life in the roaring 20s and learn about the relationships of the servants and masters who live at 165 Eaton Place. When the series returned in 2010, it covered the period from 1936 to the eve of the Second World War. As Upstairs, Downstairs covers such a broad sweep of history, it gives a fantastic insight into how life began to change for upper class families in Belgravia.
Jeeves and Wooster, 1990
This fantastic adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s much loved books was broadcast in the early 1990s. Starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry as the title characters, the series is set in and around 1920s Mayfair and follows the adventures of upper class Bertie Wooster as navigates his way through the world.
Throughout all four series of the comedy drama, Bertie Wooster is saved from himself by the ever present Jeeves. Highly intelligent and extremely competent, Jeeves helps Bertie avoid disaster, embarrassment and a host of unscrupulous characters.
Although set in Mayfair, the series was shot all over the country, with filming taking place in Highclere Castle in Newbury, Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire, Clovelly in Devon, Clandon House in Surrey and Halton House in Buckinghamshire. With filming locations across the home counties, it’s easy for fans of the show to get out and explore these real life stately homes.
The Crown, 2016
While not exclusively set in Mayfair or Belgravia, a lot of the action in The Crown takes place in these two exclusive districts, which are both a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. A number of the parties depicted in The Crown would have been located in Mayfair or Belgravia, and many of the official functions would also have taken place in the districts.
In fact, one of the reasons these areas are so exclusive and sought after is their proximity to Buckingham Palace and other royal residences. Buckingham Palace is just moments from both Mayfair and Belgravia, with Clarence House, St James’ Palace and Kensington Palace all within easy reach of these exclusive parts of London.
Over the years, both Mayfair and Belgravia have been home to prime ministers, authors, actors and statesmen. The districts boast some of London’s most exclusive hotels, shops and restaurants and many of the city’s most beautiful properties. As a result of their status and rich history, Mayfair and Belgravia have been the perfect settings for a number of excellent period dramas and comedies.