Marylebone area guide: restaurants, high street, shops and schools
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 May 2017
Your guide to things to do in marylebone, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW1 and W1
Welcome to Marylebone
Believe it or not, Marylebone used to be a central London backwater, a secret closely guarded by those in the know and seen as dated and stuffy by those who were not. Then Andre Balazs opened the Chiltern Firehouse, and the celebrities who came for the cocktails stayed for the excellent shopping and the prime London addresses.
Now NW1 is one of the hottest postcodes about, and has the prices to prove it. Some residential streets still have the feel of well moneyed mausoleums, but the high street is a delight, central London is on the doorstep, and new restaurant and bar openings every month suggest that the area will only get more interesting as the months go by. Oh, and its pronounced Marly-bone.
Marylebone High Street is the major shopping hub in the area with the main street and side streets boasting a tempting array of high-end boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
Fashion brands vie for space, offering a more languid shopping experience than the frenzy of nearby Oxford Street. Matches Fashion has an outpost here, as does Comptoir des Cotonniers, Sandro and LK Bennett.
Over on Chiltern Street, Cire Trudon will keep you in high end scented candles while Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop and Tasting Room is serious about single cask whisky. Further afield, on Wigmore Street John Bell & Croyden is an enormous 200-year-old, traditional and stupendously well-stocked pharmacy.
Best for book lovers… you’ll be in heaven with a visit to Daunt Books, the first in the small chain, which offers an extensive travel section, as well as attractive displays of literature and non-fiction in the atmospheric, wood-panelled shop.
Best for foodies… Food shopping is a delightful affair with La Fromagerie on Moxon Street selling all sorts of European goodies alongside its speciality cheese, next door to free-range butcher The Ginger Pig, and over the road from Rococo Chocolate. Those with a sweet tooth can visit haute chocolaterie Pierre Marcolini selling pretty macaroons and éclairs alongside their signature chocolates, and for high end carbs head to artisanal boulangerie Maison Kayser.
Best for gym bunnies… Lululemon and Sweaty Betty have both opened stores here, so you can fill your wardrobe with lycra leggings for every day of the week now that athleisure wear has been embraced by the fashion community.
Restaurants, cafes and bars
Take a break from shopping at one of the area’s many cafes. The Monocle Café sells sticky cinnamon buns served by terrifyingly good-looking staff, while the Chiltern Firehouse is still the restaurant of the moment; swing by for a drink, if you can get a table.
Fischer’s, a Viennese-inspired brasserie on Marylebone High Street is the latest offering from the team behind The Wolseley and is suitably stylish, as is the Ivy Cafe on Marylebone Lane, an offshoot of the main restaurant. Nearby Caffe Caldesi serves fabulous Italian and has a cooking school attached, while L’Entrecot serves one thing only – steak frites and salad – but does it well.
More down-to-earth options include Paul Rothe and Son, a family-run deli straight from an old fashioned story book, and The Golden Hind, a fish and chip shop with surprisingly reasonable prices given its location.
Best for a romantic date… tucked away down Crawford Street you’ll find Twist, serving fusion food that’s Mediterranean by way of Peru and Japan.
Best for comfort food... behind a trendy blush pink exterior Ravinder Bhogal’s Jikoni serves hearty British dishes with African and Middle Eastern twists in a cosy setting.
Marylebone gets its name from a church dedicated to St Mary, which was built on the banks of a small stream, or ‘bourne’. A cursory read of street names throughout the area offers clues to the history of ownership of much of the land. The street layout of swathes of the area dates from the 18th century when the land was owned by Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles and her husband Edward Harley. The pair commissioned a master plan setting out the streets around Cavendish Square. This area eventually passed to the widow of the 6th Baron Howard de Walden.
The western part of Marylebone was constructed by the Portman family and is known as the Portman Estate. It is still owned and run by members of the family today, while the Howard de Walden Estate continues to own, lease and manage the area covering Marylebone High Street.
The area around Harley Street became a hub for medicine in the mid-19th century, thanks to its quality housing, central location and good transport links, and now boasts hundreds of private clinics.
Things to do
Seymour Leisure Centre has a pool, climbing wall, gym, nursery and a spa and beauty salon. The outside space and sports facilities of Regent’s Park are also just on the other side of Marylebone Road.
For culture, classical concerts at Wigmore Hall or a visit to the Wallace Collection can’t be beaten. Or go undercover as a tourist to the Sherlock Holmes Museum near the detective’s Baker Street address.
Things to do with children
Paddington Street Gardens Playground has been recently renovated and looks bright and refreshed. There is also a Jungle Play area as well as designated children’s swimming times at Seymore Leisure Centre.
On Thursdays and Fridays toddlers and their carers can go to St Mary’s playgroup in Bryanston Square, which also serves proper coffee to sleep-starved parents.
Primary and secondary schools
Hampden Gurney CofE Primary School is a small voluntary aided school that received an Outstanding Ofsted rating. Fee-paying Wetherby Preparatory School provides education to boys in years 3 to 8, with a nearby secondary school continuing until 18. Francis Holland girls’ school has a branch near Regent’s Park and is a high-achieving independent school, while Queen’s College on Harley Street has a slightly less rigorous admissions policy. Sylvia Young Theatre School is a fee-paying mixed gender school specialising in performing arts. Its alumni include Emma Bunton, Denise Van Outen and Kara Tointon.
Marylebone is situated in zone 1 on the London Underground. Nearby stations include Marylebone Station, which is served by the Bakerloo line; Baker Street on the Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Circle, Jubilee and Bakerloo lines and Bond Street on the Central line. The area is served by multiple bus routes travelling further into central London as well as several mainline rail connections from Marylebone station to the commuter belt.
Marylebone is in the City of Westminster in the Westminster North parliamentary constituency. It covers areas of the W1 and NW1 postcodes. Council tax in Westminster has dropped 0.6 per cent for 2016/17. Band A properties now pay £445.87 council tax; Band D properties pay £668.81; and Band H properties get a bill for £1,337.62.
Property prices in Marylebone increased by an average of five per cent over the past year. The area’s housing stock is a mixture of large Georgian terraces, often divided into flats; mews houses; and mansion blocks. As the area’s desirability has increased in recent years, a slew of luxury development has also sprung up. Those looking for turnkey accommodation should hurry to Park Crescent, where there are still a few luxury lateral apartments left.
Two-bedroom flat – £1,689,553
Terraced house- £4,240,118
Semi detached house – £6,174,000