Quintessential London: Discover the Delights of Marylebone

Marylebone is a smallish but charming, lesser known London neighborhood within Westminster Council’s borders, just a mile from Sir Paul’s house in better known leafy St John’s Wood. Regent’s Park sits between the two neighborhoods. The Marylebone Old Town Hall, built a century ago, is McCartney’s chosen venue for a small civil ceremony on his third wedding in 2011, as it was for his first wedding, in 1969. Madonna is among those to call an address in a Marylebone residential garden square home.

Strange name
Marylebone is named for a chapel dedicated to St. Mary near the bourne, or River Tyburn, an ancient stream which ran underneath what is now modern day London. The tricky name is notably mispronounced by many, and even Londoners may disagree on this, but stick with ‘Mar – le – bone’, just drop the ‘y’.

Top Museum
The Wallace Collection in Georgian Manchester Square is one of Europe’s top small museums, a gorgeous mansion containing 25 high-ceilinged galleries filled with Old Masters, French 18th century paintings, furniture, Sevrès porcelain, Limoges enamels, and downstairs, astonishing arms and armor, as in “knights in shining…” When younger, I remember that this room was my son’s first appreciation that museums could be quite interesting after all. There is also a children’s discovery trail for learning while having some fun wandering throughout the place. Highlights include works by artists Titian, Rembrandt, Velåzquez, Canaletto, Guardi, Turner, Gainsborough, Watteau, Lawrence, Fragonard and Hals. Open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., admission is free. The museum’s interior courtyard was covered with a glass roof about ten years ago and the relaxing restaurant is a delightful find, perfect for lunch, tea, or dinner at weekends.

Cool Shopping
Unlike many of England’s high streets, Marylebone High Road is a thoughtfully planned main street with more independent retailers and one-of-a-kind shops, highly appreciated by the locals. There is an ideal mix of restaurants, pubs, shops and services. Daunt Books is an Edwardian oak wood-panelled shop with graceful skylights, VV Rouleaux in Marylebone Lane is the leading haberdashery filled with ribbons, trimmings and braids, La Fromagerie is considered one of the best cheese shops in England and Divertimenti attracts gourmets seeking cookery classes and tools of the trade. French Sole is a favorite ballerina shoe shop known for royal fans including Princess Diana and Kate Middleton. Another few dozen trendy clothing and accessories shops make for pleasant browsing, very unlike a shopping mall experience. The Sunday outdoors farmers’ market, the Marylebone Summer Fayre in mid-June and the traditional Christmas tree lighting (held on November 16, 2011) add to the spice of life in Marylebone Village.

How to Find Marylebone
Handy for the Underground, located between Bond Street and Baker Street tubes, think of Marylebone as the area between Selfridges in Oxford Street and Madame Tussauds in Marylebone Road. The Old Marylebone Town Hall is located at 97-113 Marylebone Road, London NW1. Red London buses ply this road frequently, on routes heading east toward Camden Town and west toward Notting Hill.

Wallace Collection
Westminster City Council
Kensington & Chelsea Women’s Club

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