Marylebone has been a fashionable area since at least the seventeenth century - as the catalogue of famous residents (past and present) attests. Painter JMW Turner lived at 47 Queen Anne Street from 1812 until his death in 1851. It was known as "Turner's Den", becoming damp, dilapidated and dirty, with dozens of masterpieces (now in the National Gallery) scattered throughout the house, walls covered in tack holes and a drawing room inhabited by cats! The ultimate artists ’garret’. No 2 Upper Wimpole Street is where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle opened his ophthalmic practice in 1891 and the intersection of Welbeck Street and Bentinck Street was the location of a near-fatal accident for Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem, who as you know, lived just down the road at 221b Baker Street.
Also just down the road at 57 Wimpole Street is where Paul McCartney stayed with girlfriend Jane Asher, and his mate John Lennon wrote I Want to Hold Your Hand on a piano in the basement. Lennon later moved to nearby 34 Montagu Square. Charles Dickens lived here with his indebted father (on whom the character Wilkins Micawber was based) while working as a court reporter in the 1830’s, and more recently, spies Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess shared a flat in Bentinck Street during the Second World War.
Today, Marylebone Village, which centres around the uber-chic Marylebone High Street leading north from Oxford Street, is a vibrant retail community which doubles as a haven for café society. Savile Row suits, chauffeur driven Bentleys and Chanel bags are all de rigueur here, but then so too are cute little cobbled alleyways and quaint sweet shops nestled between more grand establishments. It offers high end shops, restaurants (like THE new celebrity haunt – The Chiltern Firehouse for example), hotels and cultural institutions, all with loads of character and individuality and yet still with an emphasis on high quality. It’s a great place to browse and take a break, and lunch at nearby St Christopher's Place is an absolute must if you’re shopping in the area!
Marylebone is perfectly located in the centre of London and reaches from Oxford Street in the south to the Marylebone Road in the north, Edgware Road to the west and Great Portland Street to the east. And it has plenty of hidden gems which make the area a great place to visit for the day. Daunt Books for example, which was one of the world’s first custom built bookshops, is a typically beautiful, traditional store which locals frequent. The Royal Academy of Music Museum is another and it offers a great in-depth display of musical item collections. And best of all, its free! On the north side of Manchester Square is the home of the brilliant (and slightly mad) Wallace Collection which features world-class French eighteenth-century painting, porcelains and furniture…and my favourite, tons of historic armour!
Walking north on Marylebone High Street towards the Marylebone Road one reaches an area with a colourful history, which includes the former Marylebone Gardens, whose entertainments including bare-knuckle fighting (between both sexes) and bear baiting as well as a cemetery, a workhouse, and the areas frequented by Charles Wesley.
Alternatively if you fancy a nice walk or even a jog, then Regent’s Park makes for the most perfectly tranquil setting. It hosts many sporting events during the summer in and around the main lake. And speaking of the lake, you could do worse than to rent a boat and get up close and personal with the ducks out on the water!
Marylebone Top 5 Bars
Prepare to be amazed, wowed and downright astonished by the team’s unorthodox mixology efforts, whilst you sit back and relax. The name Purl comes from a 19th century beverage that was commonly sold on the streets of London and sets the scene of unusual drinks perfectly. From dry ice and charming concoctions to cocktails in a bag and ice cream endeavours, predict mastery and majestic tipples to a T. This unique bar is a throwback to the golden age of cocktails thanks to their baroque interiors, broody atmosphere and ever growing collection of vintage wares. It's seating only, and you must make a booking in order to visit.
Salt Whisky Bar & Dining Room
The Salt Whisky Bar & Dining Room, just a short distance from Marble Arch Station, aims to preserve the authentic traditions of a whisky bar, while doubling as a quality Indian restaurant at the same time. Set on the corner of Seymour Street, the modest exterior gives way to a sleek, contemporary interior. The dark wood tables add an air of elegance, whilst the bar extends to accommodate over 12 guests on the plush bar stools. Salt Bar has a shisha patio where alfresco dining can be also enjoyed.
The Dog House
The Dog House, the newly refurbished basement bar nestled beneath highly acclaimed Marylebone restaurant Bernardi’s, is an intimate venue perfect for a casual get together or a romantic date. There is an outdoor courtyard for the warmer months where you can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. The bar’s menu is full of modern Italian cocktails as well as old classics, such as The Rose Negroini, while they also serve delicious cicheti, pizzette and antipasti until late. This chic spot has been artfully designed to be sophisticated yet relaxed with its warm colour scheme, it is ideal for a cosy drink to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets of London.
Recently voted the 'World's Best Bar' Artesian is a glamorous Hotel Bar located within the Langham Hotel. Having taken the title away from an amazing New York City speakeasy, it is clear to see that Artesian is something special. The decor by David Collins Studio sees a gorgeous oriental inspired space laden with stunning purple leather and upholster; Artesian has a wow-factor that is hard to shake off and you'll spend a long time taking in the beauty of this lovely Hotel Bar. Artesian also provides a light-dining menu that incorporates a sophisticated caviar section.
This classy joint is a sweet retreat from those busy London streets. With polished wooden surfaces, antique furniture, wood-panelled walls, floral wallpaper and low hanging lights, this place is a cosy little den, perfect for an intimate catch up with an old friend, a romantic sojourn with a date or a big night out with your rowdy rabble. A 'pick'n mix infusions' option allows you to taste a selection of various cocktails, for all of the indecisive out there. An outdoor seating area is great for those summer sunsets too.
The nearest airport is Heathrow Airport from which there are good transport links into the city by tube. The Heathrow Express is quick and frequent and a great option if you're happy to pay a little more to get into town. Other important London Airports such as Gatwick and Stansted are also just an Express train ride away.
The nearest stations are Marylebone and Paddington Stations from where you can get to other key parts of the UK such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. Tube stations serving this area are Edgware Road, Marylebone and Baker Street. To find out the location of your nearest station and to effectively plan your journey, just go to Transport for London’s journey planner.
If you're travelling into Marylebone by car, be sure to check your parking options beforehand on Parkopedia to find and book your space.
London's cycling network is rapidly expanding and with the now famous Boris Bikes available to rent on just about every other corner, it creates an easy commute around London. With no need to book ahead, you can simply hire a bike from wherever you are and return it to the nearest docking station to your destination. We also recommend that you check your cycle route on MapMyRide before you head off!
You'll have good bus connections from Marylebone and Baker Street to other parts of London and be able to get to Wembley, Brixton and Hackney. Bus connections around Marylebone/Baker Street can be found on TFL's website.
What to do in Marylebone
Listed below are some of the great places to visit in Marylebone. Click one to find out more.
- Marylebone Village shopping
Marylebone is an affluent area with a veritable plethora of shops and boutiques where you’ll find exclusive clothing brands as well as top of the range design and interior shops. And at the bottom of the High Street there's Oxford Street, which brings even MORE shopping. Hooray!
Marylebone is also packed with both high end restaurants and cafés as well as exclusive food shops. On and around Marylebone High Street you’ll find a nice mix of classic French restaurants and popular burger joints and on nearby James Street and St Christopher’s Place you’ll find another whole host of exotic restaurants and food places too! There is also exclusive food shopping at either La Fromagerie or The Ginger Pig on Moxon Street or grab a smoothie or a sandwich while you shop for your food at The Natural Kitchen.
After all the stress of that shopping you may need refreshment…so head for The Marylebone which is a lively gastro pub which does amazing cocktails, or you could try swish Coco Momo! Don’t forget that Oxford Street and Soho are just a 15 minute walk away and there you’ll literally find bars on every corner!
- The Royal Academy of Music Museum
Located just nearby Baker Street Station, the Royal Academy of Music building’s fascinating little museum is set over 3 floors. There’s a permanent display on the ground floor charting the history of the Academy while the first floor contains the strings section (violins and cellos) gallery with its near priceless collection of Stradivari and Amati violins and the second floor houses the piano gallery. The Royal Academy of Music is the oldest conservatoire in Britain and alongside the permanent galleries there is an annually changing temporary exhibition, as well as regular lecture-recitals and workshops.
The gift shop is not to be missed, and has some quirky and unusual items and friendly staff. Entrance is free.
- The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection museum opened to the public in 1900 in Hertford House, in Marylebone’s pretty Manchester Square, and has a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms & armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged over 25 galleries.
An interesting fact is that when the entire private collection of Sir Richard Wallace was bequeathed to the nation by his widow a condition was that no object ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions! Admission is free.