Before we head north to Marylebone, I just wanted to mention a really good Indian restaurant where my friend Rosemary, who’s a Londoner, and I had a delicious meal. It’s called The Star of India and it’s at 154 Old Brompton Road.
Marylebone is an affluent shopping and residential district north of Oxford Street. A posh and quiet enclave, it’s a small neighbourhood, really. (Madonna had one of her townhouses here.) I purposefully avoid the hordes of harried shoppers on Oxford Street and come here instead. So much more civilized, darling!
You must visit this gorgeous bookshop at number 84 Marylebone High Street, all wood and polished interiors. To the left of Daunt Books is a Scandinavian design, furniture and gift shop called Skandium. I always pop in to gaze at the functional yet stylish lines.
Natural Kitchen seems to be the main hub of activity on Marylebone High Street, just down from Daunt Books. It’s all there, from organic porridge in the morning to snacks, lunch, coffee and cakes throughout the day. There’s also a butcher and a baker but no candlestick maker.
This amaaaazing shop called Ortigia is located further down at number 23. As you walk in, the intermingled fragrance of the hand-made Sicilian soaps and bath products is divine, as are the exquisite boxes that the soaps come in. I purchased several gifts here.
If you go around the corner to 27 New Cavendish Street, you’ll find this clothing shop that I really liked and hadn’t heard of before. OSKA is a German label and the quality of the design and fabrics is outstanding. Happily, I learned there are two OSKA shops in Paris. Directly opposite is a French fabric and furniture store called Caravane.
And that’s about it for this district. Next up is Covent Garden. Marylebone is a delightful district in which to wander. Stay on the back streets and you’ll be rewarded with small boutiques, picturesque pubs and restaurants. If you continue walking south on Marylebone High Street (just south of New Cavendish Street) and then turn right onto George Street, you’ll find a unique museum on Manchester Square called The Wallace Collection containing world-sourced antiques, sculpture and artworks set within an historic townhouse. It also houses a lovely restaurant that serves lunch and afternoon tea.
Splash some cash at Durrant’s Hotel, 26-32 George Street, in their restaurant or cozy bar. A privately-owned 92-bedroom Georgian townhouse hotel, Durrants is a quiet and stylish retreat; everything a hotel should be – small, cosy and utterly charming (and expensive!) My mother and I stayed there in the late 1980s.
Continuing south from Manchester Square you’ll come onto Wigmore Street which runs parallel and just north of Oxford Street. See the schedule at Wigmore Hall, a lovely concert hall located at number 36. Early music, chamber music and classical song is showcased here.