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