Characterised by red-bricked Georgian architecture, independent shops, bars and restaurants, Marylebone is still able to retain something of a quaint, village atmosphere. Less showy than nearby Mayfair, it’s never-the-less one of the capital’s most popular neighbourhoods, as well known for its art galleries and museums as its thriving social scene.
Originally the ancient parish of Tyburn, the name changed when a church dedicated to St Mary was built on the edge of a small stream or ‘bourne’. During the 18th century, the area was known for its entertainments held in Marylebone Gardens, which included prize-fighting and duelling in the nearby fields. It was also home to the Marylebone Cricket Club - the governing body of world cricket - before it moved to its current home at Lords. With such an eclectic and vibrant history, let’s take a look at some of the best attractions on offer in today’s modern Marylebone.
Here is our pick of some of Marylebone's best parks, venues and must-see destinations:
One of the biggest, best and most beloved department stores anywhere on the planet, this Oxford Street staple really is the ultimate shopping experience. This, of course, is because it houses almost every brand you can think of under one roof, but also due to its ever-changing interiors, with an incredible array of installations and events that mean no one visit is ever the same. Situated within a Grade II listed building and featuring everything from a Feel Good Bar, high-end late-night dining and a variety of ways to keep the kids entertained, this is a part of British history that keeps on delivering, each and every year.
Regent’s Park is another of London’s truly iconic destinations, open to all and quite simply a first-class day out. The grandest of all the Royal Parks, it features an extensive rose garden, an outdoor theatre, a boating lake and even a zoo. There’s also The Hub, home to the largest outdoor sports facility in London. Set among Grade I listed parkland, it’s ideal for everything from football, rugby, lacrosse and cricket, providing the local community with an outstanding range of physical activities. Covering almost 200 hectares, the park remains, as ever, somewhere to congregate, enjoy and take life at your leisure.
Marylebone Farmers’ Market
This wonderful local market is open every Sunday and here you’ll find some of the finest produce, presented with real passion and care. Even better, it’s all made or grown locally, and the results are pretty spectacular. From fresh fish, crab and shellfish to poultry, lamb and pheasant, this is nothing short of a chef’s paradise. Then there are the artisan cheeses, which sit alongside honey from North London and a huge selection of cakes, bread, pies and cookies, all of them freshly created by vendors who’ve made this level of quality their life’s work. And for those who get there early, there are a few choice items that sell fast, like the pickled herring and, of course, the pick of the cakes.
For anyone with even a passing interest in great chocolate, this is the stuff dreams are made of. Here, they’ve been making incredible British confectionery for over thirty-five years and their experience really shows. An amazing range of gourmet items and hampers change with the seasons and are perfect for Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. Be warned, though, once you’re inside the shop, the displays can be somewhat overwhelming. Truffles, caramel, fruity and floral offerings sit side-by-side and trying to determine which is the most appealing is no easy task. However, when in doubt, the hand-made chocolatiers' fresh collection provides delicacies that, once tasted, are not soon forgotten.
Food for thought:
Our pick of Marylebone's stand-out restaurants
Les 110 de Taillevent
This is a legendary Paris-style eatery on Cavendish Square, famous for its amazing collection of over 1000 wines. The good news is the food is pretty spectacular too. Barbary duck with sauce bigarade, seared foie gras and a lobster spelt risotto are just a few of the dishes on offer. Meanwhile, the dining room is supremely stylish, all of which adds up to a peerless culinary experience.
The Golden Hind
For classic British food taken to dizzying new heights, look no further than The Golden Hind. These days the humble battered cod and chips have been elevated so as to easily qualify as fine dining. There are also fresh fishcakes, skate and plaice, plus feta cheese fritters that are impossible to resist. Part of Marylebone since 1914, the atmosphere is easy-going, the fish out-of-this-world. Highly recommended.
Fischer’s is a taste of Vienna at the top of Marylebone High Street. With dark wood panelling, leather banquettes and highly efficient waiting staff, the feeling of being in a traditional Viennese eatery are wonderfully reproduced. With hearty, warming dishes like schnitzel, herring and strudel, this is a local favourite that really hits the mark. For dessert, try the Franz Joseph Kaiserschmarrn: a rich pudding of chopped pancakes with cherry compote.
Situated in the old Marylebone Fire Station, this local hotspot is known for drawing famous faces from the world of TV, film and music. A combination of decadent dinners and fine desserts has kept people coming back for more ever since it opened in 2014, keen to sample dishes like the 48-hour marinated citrus chicken and the Iberico pork. There’s also a weekend brunch that’s helped cement the Firehouse’s reputation as one of the neighbourhood’s all-time great locations.
Marylebone tube station is well served by the Bakerloo line, making travel in and around Central London fast and efficient. Residents also enjoy a vast array of bus, walking, cycling and running routes.
Education and Business
Home to a number of famous educational establishments - including Westminster College, King’s College London and Imperial - Marylebone has also attracted international companies from the world of IT, design, music and film.