Marylebone: full of celebrity haunts with a fashionable high street
- Credit: Archant
Once a central London backwater and closely guarded secret by those in the know, Marylebone and it’s fashionable high street has recently become popular with billionaires and celebrities such as Tom Ford and Damien Hirst.
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 have risen dramatically in recent years at an even faster rate than similar central London areas. The average price of a two-bedroom flat is now £1,674,531, while a terraced house costs an average of £3,892,555. 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.
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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.
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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.
Landmarks and history
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.
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.
Book lovers will 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. Food shopping is also 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 with Rococo Chocolate across the road.
For those who need to create a suitable environment in which to enjoy these treats, a range of interiors and clothing shops will provide – try Cologne and Cotton or the White Company for crisp bedding, Brora for cosy cashmere and Skandium and The Conran Shop for fashionable furnishings. A trip to VV Rouleaux will offer enough ribbons and trimmings to keep a Jane Austen heroine in bonnets for life and the Button Queen has a huge array of their eponymous product.
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.
Eating and drinking
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’Entrecote 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.
Sport, leisure and culture
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.
Good for kids
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.