The village life in the heart of London; a guide to one of London’s most quaint suburbs

by Elysian Magazine

London is one of the world’s most exciting and cosmopolitan cities, a jigsaw of different districts boasting a blend of rich histories, esteemed culture, diverse cuisine and renowned architecture. For those unfamiliar with the city, finding the best places to visit, or even live, can appear a daunting task, but one of the city’s central quarters, Marylebone, offers arguably the best lifestyle to be found in London.

Marylebone was originally named after a stream it was built around, Tyburn, and was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. The area was notorious for public executions as the site of one of London’s most significant public gallows. From these humble beginnings, the fortunes of the area benefitted from a dramatic lift in 1544 when Henry VIII built a hunting lodge to benefit from the green space of Regent’s Park. When he passed away, the land passed into the hands of Sir William Portman, Lord Chief Justice, who created what is known today as the Portman Estate, one of the largest privately-owned estates in the city.  

Today, Marylebone is known for being one of London’s most desirable areas, with Marylebone High Street marking the epicentre of a village community. One of Marylebone’s most recognisable landmarks is Daunt Books, which is believed to be the first custom built bookshop in the world. The store boasts long oak galleries, stunning skylights and is decorated with prints by famed British textile designer, William Morris. The interiors alone are worth a visit, but the discerning book lover will find plenty of first editions and other hidden treasures nestled in the shelves here.

Another local haunt is Monocle Café on Chiltern Street. Hard to miss, the chic Parisian-style black and white awning has made this cosy coffee house an Instagram sensation, with picture-perfect cuisine to match. Created by the makers of global affairs and lifestyle magazine, Monocle, the café offers Allpress coffee, Swedish pastries and a lunch menu inspired by countries across the globe.

For those with a cultural mind, Marylebone is a hard-pressed district to beat for a range of well-known attractions and hidden gems. The Wallace Collection is housed in Hereford House, situated on Manchester Square, and houses an array of French 18th century paintings and furniture, in addition to an impressive range of Old Master paintings split into 25 galleries. One of London’s most elegant buildings, the palatial interiors give an insight into the opulence of London’s town houses during the 19th century, and visitors may find it is worth the time to marvel at the range of luxurious fabrics and materials used in the décor. Other cultural offerings in Marylebone include the Sherlock Holmes Museum, waxwork collection Madame Tussauds, the Hellenic Centre and the Lisson Gallery.

Marylebone certainly has a glamorous side to it, and the best place to enjoy delicious food with a side of celebrity-spotting is the Chiltern Firehouse, just one of the area’s number of Michelin-starred restaurants. A sensitive conversion of a Grade II-listed former fire station, the restaurant’s luxurious interiors create a dining experience like no other in the city. The restaurant is the brainchild of André Balazs, who also owns the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and the Mercer Hotel in New York City. Other spectacular restaurants in the area include Roganic, Locanda Locatelli, Portland Restaurant, Texture and Trishna.

Undeniably one of London’s landmarks, Selfridge’s is the crowning jewel of Marylebone’s extensive list of luxe retailers. Opened in 1908 by American entrepreneur Harry Selfridge, the Oxford Street department store houses an unrivalled collection of high-end brands, creating a one-stop destination for retail indulgence. Famed for its windows above all else, the lavish designs on the store frontage set the scene for the unique Selfridge experience and consistently attract tourists, designers and fashion enthusiasts to enjoy the elaborate designs. The windows have featured in a range of publications across the years, including Vogue, the New York Times and Harper’s Bazaar.

One of the centres of the Marylebone village community is the weekly Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Sunday. The market is the go-to destination for foodies with a fantastic range of artisanal produce, including cheeses, fruit, vegetables, speciality meats and fish, charcuterie, pastries, fine wines and more. Located on Moxon Street, the market is very well-attended by Marylebone residents and visitors alike, with many stallholders proving firm favourites. Excitingly, the market, which is currently held in Cramer Street car park, is soon to move to a fresh new location, on-site within the new luxury residential development, Marylebone Square.

Marylebone Square will comprise 54 exquisitely designed high end apartments for anyone looking to make the move to this charmed central London suburb. This development sits on the last undeveloped city block within Marylebone and is one of the most exciting mixed-use projects in the area to date. Sensitively planned to complement the area’s renowned architectural scenescape, the development comprises a dramatic five-storey atrium, with a private bridge to the front door of each apartment.

Marylebone Square’s central atrium is decorated with an abundance of greenery, while the apartments benefit from state-of-the-art appliances and sumptuous interior design, as well as access to 24-hour concierge service and a health club. The development will also bring much-needed car parking spaces and several high-end retail stores to the area. One-bedroom apartments at the development by Concord London are available from £2.55 million, with the development expected to be completed at the end of 2021.

Embodying a rich tapestry of history, culture and luxury, Marylebone might just be the place to be for those looking to enjoy the best of what London has to offer.

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