Spotlight on London

Hair transplant surgeon and London local Dr Michael May reveals the top spots to wine, dine and explore in the beautiful and bustling city of London.

What do you love most about London?

I love London’s diversity, history and lead in the medical world. It’s a culture of talented cosmopolitan inhabitants who are alive and vibrant.

What’s the best way to see the city?

The best way to see London is by foot or bus. This allows you to stop and view many of the city’s landmarks. The views of the city from the London Eye and Shard are also spectacular.

What are the best places to stay?

For me, my all-time favourite has to be Claridges. For fun and a bit of difference, The Ham Yard Hotel is great – it even has its own bowling alley! Number sixteen is another great hotel; it’s like staying in a beautiful London home.

What are the must-sees when travelling there?

The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey (take a guided tour, so much more interesting), London’s beautiful parks, and fun markets such as Maltby Street Food Market, Exmouth Market and the Columbia Flower Market.

What are the top three eating spots?

Such a question! There are so many restaurants in London. My favourites are Galvin La Chapelle in the city, which showcases French cuisine in a former Victorian chapel; Locanda Locatelli for excellent Italian food and wine; and George, a member’s club where I enjoy a good lunch.

And the locals’ best-kept secret?

Sir John Soane Museum. Sir John Soane (1753–1837) was one of the most inventive architects of his time. He built the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery, and his own extraordinary home in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is incredibly interesting. Huntarian Museum is equally fascinating!

What’s the most unique or unusual place to visit?

Highgate Cemetery – it is a place of burial in north London. I recommend to arrange a private tour. It is designated Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England.

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Now, a little bit about you…

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What led you to pursue a career in your specialty?

As is occasionally the case, a career-defining decision came about by chance rather than formed by design. The senior partner in the practice where I was working had been the first in the UK to carry out hair transplantation – in those days large round grafts. He wished to move away from practice into hospital development, but I was able to learn from him and undergo a two-year apprenticeship which was invaluable and to this day difficult to find in any field of cosmetic surgery. I thought at the end of the 80s that this speciality would fade due to the unsatisfactory appearance of round grafts and the use of Minoxidil.  Soon after, surgeons stopped using the large grafts and started the move towards smaller grafts and a more acceptable result. I was the first in the UK to do this and have been actively involved since.

What’s been a career highlight for you?

I work in the West End of London near the world-famous medical area of Harley Street. Doctors of every speciality work there and I have been fortunate to be a member of the Independent Doctors Federation since 2001. This has been invaluable to me in maintaining contact with my medical colleagues and managing the regulations of medicine, particularly cosmetic surgery introduced in the past 15 years.

What’s your experience of practising in London?

I have worked in both NHS and private hospitals as a general surgeon before my interest in hair transplantation developed.

In 2005 I moved from the basement of a large house to my own clinic, which had been set up to my own specification. I was able to see the clinic’s growth; we were carrying out nine cases a week. I was the President of the European Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons and The British Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons, travelling and talking at meetings around Europe. I have loved the buzz of the clinic and felt this was the most satisfying part of my career.