Marylebone Area Guide
Nestled between London’s two largest Royal parks – Regents Park to the North and Hyde Park to the South, Marylebone is a stylish west end neighbourhood and architectural gem - effortlessly combining the international, cosmopolitan and urbane chic of a central London location with a gloriously picturesque and thriving village atmosphere - distinctively Parisian in both look and feel.
Where is Marylebone?
Marylebone, part of the City of Westminster, is generally defined as bounded by Oxford Street to the south, Marylebone Road to the north, Edgware Road to the west and Great Portland Street to the east. A broader definition also encompasses neighbouring Regent's Park, Baker Street and the area immediately north of Marylebone Road, including Marylebone Station, as well as the neighbourhood known as Lisson Grove to the border with St John's Wood. The area east of Great Portland Street , known as Fitzrovia has since the 1940’s also been known as East
Marylebone – past and present
The name Marylebone – pronounced in a range of ways depending on who you ask – is derived from the name of an early 13th century church - St Mary-by-the-Tyburn - the Tyburn being a stream that once ran from Hampstead down through Marylebone and St James’ Park to the Thames. In the thirteenth century the language of the aristocracy was French, so St-Mary-by-the-Tyburn would have been St-Mary-a-le-Bourne (‘bourne’ being the French for a small stream) and from this we arrive at the name ‘Marylebone’ - as we know it today. Linguists continue to debate how Marylebone should be pronounced but popular pronunciations include Marley-bone (Mar-lee-bone); Mar-le-bon; Marry-le-bone; and Marry-le-bon.
Most of the area we know today as Marylebone is owned, leased
and managed by the Howard de Walden and Portman Estates, whose aristocratic ancestors, back in the early 18th century, recognised the need for fashionable housing in this then suburb of London. As a result of the thoughtful development of the original owners and the skilful management of the current freeholder estates, Marylebone in the 21st century is one of London’s finest period architecture neighbourhoods, boasting: perfectly preserved Georgian houses; beautifully designed and manicured private residents’ garden squares; elegant Victorian terraces; and palatial mansion blocks.
While most of these impressive period properties have now been converted into luxury flats there are still a handful of freehold houses remaining in all their original glory. And there are also some new developments of tastefully designed flats and mews houses coming to market. Though house values in Marylebone have risen steeply in recent years, surprisingly enough, prices here are still more affordable than neighbouring Knightsbridge.
Marylebone has been a fashionable place to live since the 18th century and its popularity with generations of influential and famous residents has been a guiding force in its cultural development.
While in the 1700s Marylebone was particularly known for the raffish entertainments of Marylebone Gardens - scene of bear-baiting and prize fights by members of both sexes - and for the duelling grounds in Marylebone Fields, by the 19th century Marylebone had increasingly became the preferred London residence for a diverse and eclectic mix of celebrated writers, scientists, artists, musicians, and independent thinkers - which has continued to this day. Notable Marylebone residents have included: writers - Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens, T.S Elliot, Arthur Conan Doyle creator of Marylebone’s best known fictional resident Sherlock Homes; actors - Jane Asher, Corin Redgrave and Norman Wisdom; musicians – Jaqueline Du Pre, all four Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stephens and Madonna; and politicians William Pitt the Elder and Sir Clement Freud .
Marylebone’s patronage of the arts was firmly established at the turn of the 20th century, with the bequest of the Wallace Collection, 25 galleries of French decorative arts and Old Masters in a vast Georgian town house on Manchester Square; and the construction of Wigmore Hall – a leading international recital venue that specialises in performances of chamber music and song. And by the early 20th century Harley Street in Marylebone had become firmly established as a hub for world-class private specialists in medicine and surgery.
A stroll through the heart of Marylebone today and you’ll be sure to pick up on the distinctly village ambience. Chatting with residents at one of the many cafes, delis or diminutive, independently-run, specialist stores along Marylebone Lane, you’ll quickly pick up on the strong sense of community that pervades the neighbourhood. Combined with the sumptuous bijou restaurants and beautifully designed boutiques that line the High Street, juxtaposed with the thriving weekend farmers’ and vintage markets - and you cannot fail to be struck by the true uniqueness of this inner London locale – simultaneously charming; independent; artistic; luxurious; epicurean and architecturally magnificent.
Living in Marylebone
Wealthy professionals, foreign investors, international business students and the rich and famous continue to be enticed by Marylebone’s charm, and the range of beautiful properties that the area offers. The following is a brief summary of what you can expect if you decide to become a resident of the Marylebone neighbourhood. Be sure to also check out our Features, Local Schools and Transport sections below
In this section we have put together a list of some of the most persuasive reasons why we think Marylebone trumps any other Zone 1 location for the best all round central London living experience.
Visually stimulating – a locale bursting with classically charming Georgian and Victorian period mansions skilfully restored and converted into luxury flats equipped for 21st century living, interspersed with exquisitely manicured private resident garden squares – and still more affordable then Knightsbridge.
Village life paired with urban chic - while just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street and abundant with its own very stylish designer stores and fine dining experience, Marylebone is still able to preserve a real community vibe that residents really treasure. A great example of this is the annual Marylebone Summer Fayre, when the High Street is closed to traffic and residents and visitors alike enjoy a classic village type fete complete with live music, market stalls, and children’s activities.
Culturally rich – with the Wallace Collection - home to one of Europe’s finest collection of 18th century art - and Wigmore Hall - with almost perfect acoustics and one of the world’s most important recital venues – on your doorstep, Marylebone offers patrons of the arts and music two spectacular settings. And the slew of independent shops, delis and cafes that offer anything from a speciality cheese to a fishing line to a piccolo create a unique and alluring ambience that adds to Marylebone’s very distinctive village culture and sweetly eccentric character.
Shopping Utopia – Within walking distance of shopping meca - Oxford Street, Marylebone residents can also just stay put in their own neighbourhood and pick up anything from a designer dress to hipster vintage; curious-shaped buttons to the latest paper-back; or oak-aged whiskey to locally-produced onions. See Shopping section for our recommendations.
Green spaces galore – although Marylebone sits in the heart of central London, it nestles between the two largest Royal parks in London – Regents Park to the North and Hyde Park to the South. Whether you’re inclined to get out your jogging shoes, or the pic-nic basket, enjoy the sensual pleasures of the Regents Park Rose Garden, or a leisurely row on the Serpentine, a summer weekend will pass by with ease in one of these green oases. And if you’re looking for a brief respite during the Saturday morning shop, then Paddington Street Gardens, just off the High Street is a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet while your kids run off some steam in the playground.
Site of the very first London ‘Omnibus’ route in 1829, which connected Paddington to bank via Marylebone Road,
Marylebone has always been well served by public transport links that seamlessly connect it to the rest of the City and to places further afield.
Marylebone is currently served by three tube stations – Marylebone, Baker Street and Edgeware Road which provide access to the Bakerloo, Jubilee, District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. A host of buses provide a web of transport links across town, while over-ground trains from Marylebone station offer connections with the Chilterns and Birmingham.
For new residents with children, Marylebone offers a range of both State and privately funded options including:
International Community School– part of the SKOLA Group – a private international baccalaureate world school for ages 3-18 years.
St Vincent’s– a mixed Roman Catholic Primary School.
Hampden Gurney- a mixed Church of England Primary School.
North Westminster Community School – a mixed comprehensive for ages 11-18 years.
Portland Place School- private school for children aged 9-18 years.
DLD College- an independent sixth form college.
St Marylebone Secondary School– a multi-faith comprehensive school for girls aged 11-18 years.
Other private school choices include:
The Sylvia Young Theatre School is also located in Marylebone.