London W1. Westminster. London Property Area Guide.
“I seem as if I had plucked myself out of my proper soil when I left Devonshire-terrace; and could take root no more until I return to it….” Charles Dickens
Marylebone. Please don’t change. You’re perfect just the way you are. Please don’t put on your Chelsea airs and graces and please don’t put another penny on your square feet. Marylebone is a London dream, but the problem is it the secret’s out. Everyone seems to know it’s where you find the best high street in London, best butcher, best boutiques, best facial…. There’s something of a Mediterranean air sweeping the streets too– the passeggiata is something of a pastime and a “Merci Monsieur” is as common as a “cheers mate”. It all really started happening a couple of years ago and is set to continue! Marylebone has always been regarded as a highly desirable address – not as stuffy or showy as Mayfair or as painfully pretentious as Chelsea but ever so quietly assured of it’s own class, style and history.
Marylebone Village (as it’s referred to these days) stretches from Marylebone Road down to Wigmore St (technically part of this is Thayer Street, but no one seems to care). It’s a charming high street and somewhat of a rarity with it’s village-y feel yet only a couple of minutes from manic Oxford Street. The type of shops lining the street have stared to change from more traditional businesses and cafes to the designer end of the spectrum. Whilst this looks very hip it’s not often a lot of use for locals – just recently, the flower shop, hardware shop and small Italian deli are out and the likes of the Kooples are in! Thankfully there are still many die-hard, firm favorites that would start a riot should there ever been even a whisper of their demise: namely The magnificent Daunt Books, Waitrose, Conran Shop, La Fromagerie, Rococo Chocolates and many many more.
Doctors & Nurses and Privates
It’s always a pleasure to explore Marylebone’s charming streets and stumble upon another hidden gem. The architecture is very fine, particularly just east of the high street in the famous medical quarter – Harley Street, Wimpole Street, Portland Place. And there are many handsome squares to explore; Manchester Square, Montagu Square and Bryanston Square, all West of the High St (although don’t expect to be let in to the green bits as they’re all private!).
Aside from the High Street there are other smaller hot-spots such as Chiltern Street which is something of a “bride-to-be” destination and home to the hotly anticipated London outpost of the Mercer hotel set to open soon. Plus Marylebone Lane, which is home to interesting one-off boutiques, shops and restaurants and due to welcome a new mixed-use retail and residential development later this year. If you want to be a little earthy there’s the Cabbages and Frocks market in St Marylebone Parish Church gardens on a Saturday and the extremely popular Farmers Market on Sunday.
Meet: Mr De Walden & Mr Portman
The area essentially has two principle landlords; The Howard de Walden Estate (covering the main High Street area) and the Portman Estate (mainly to the west of Gloucester Place). Both have invested heavily in the infrastructure of the area and care passionately about the revival, upkeep, economy and development of Marylebone. As large Landlords, not only have they deliberately nurtured independent shops and restaurants, they’ve invested heavily in re-generating offices and homes in the area.
The problem with large Landlords in any area is that they own all the good property. That’s why it’s much easier to find a lovely home to rent in Marylebone than a property to own. You’ll find high ceilinged apartments with porters, lifts and good floorplans. Most former houses are converted into apartments (first and second floors command the best premiums). Good size lateral space is hard to find, so more square footage means more floors. Houses are mostly found in Mews – and are in huge demand to rent or buy.
Flats in the Garden squares or around the High Street rent and sell fastest, so be quick. Towards Portland Place you’ll find grand blocks with Concierge, parking spaces and prices around £2,000 per square foot.
The Aybrook, between Manchester Square (where a house will fetch £16million) and the High Street, is the only large scale residential development of recent times. The new flats, many with parking and some with balconies or terraces command premium prices, yet internally they don’t inspire. What will likely inspire are 3 new developments. First underway is The Chilterns, on the corner of Paddington Street and Chiltern Street. Next, work will start on 35 Marylebone High St, and finally 66 Paddington St (currently a huge office block). Demand will be high, prices likely £2,000 – £3,000 per sqft, so best get hunting for something period if it’s value you’re looking for.
Renters and buyers alike will find alot of Marylebone property is in poor condition. Often flats are accessible by only stairs, even on high floors. Buyers will see that almost every flat is leasehold and over half of them are on medium term (40-60 year) or short term (less than 40 years). This means mortgages are harder to come by and you will need to have a survey to value the price of a lease extension (below 70 years it gets very expensive). Don’t be put off – if you can manage to secure a property that needs it’s lease extending, as long as you have taken good professional advice, the process is usually simple, although requires solicitors and can be drawn out.
SETTING AND BORDERS
Marylebone Road to the North
Great Portland Street to the East
Oxford Street to the South
Edgware Road to the West
+ Eclectic mix of shops & boutiques
+ European feel
+ Super centrally located
+ Good choice of schools in the area
+ Community feel
+ Excellent transport links
+ Excellent medical facilities on your doorstep
+ Green spaces of Regents Park and Hyde Park just around the corner
+ Vibrant high street but peaceful residential streets
– Expensive property prices
– In danger of becoming painfully trendy
– Limited supply of good property to buy
Exquisite Interior Design & Opulent Furnishings: Charles Burnand, 15 Crawford Street, W1H (for VIP Treatment: ask for Simon & tell him L&P sent you!)
A Gentlemen’s Wardrobe: Trunk, Chiltern Street, W1
Speakeasy cocktail: Purl, 50-54 Blandford Street, W1U 7HX
Best Gastropub ever: The Duke of Wellington, Crawford Street
Superfacialist: Vaishaly (& her team), Paddington Street, W1
Best Bread and Butter pudding: Orrery Epicerie, 55-57 Marylebone High Street
Special occasion feast: Locanda Locatelli, 8 Seymour Street, W1H 7JZ
Catch a Titian, Rembrandt and Rubens at the sublime Wallace Collection : The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, W1
Heavenly scents: Cire Trudon, Chiltern Street, W1
Lavish Bouquets: ‘By Appointment Only’, Chiltern Street, W1
TUBE & OVERGROUND
Great Portland Street: Hammersmith and City Lines and Metropolitan Line
Baker Street: Hammersmith and City Lines, Metropolitan Line, Bakerloo Line and Jubilee Line
Marble Arch: Central Line
Oxford Circus: Central Line and Victoria Line
Bond Street: Central Line and Jubilee Line
Routes that pass Marylebone Road: 18,30, 205,28, ………..
Routes that pass Oxford Street: 55, 10,73, 390…………….
Routes that pass Portland Place: C2, 88 and …..
St George’s Hanover Square, South Street, W1K 2XH
St Vincent’s RC Primary School, Vincent Street, W1
Hampden Gurney CofE Primary School, 13 Nutford Place, W1H 5HA
St Mary’s Bryanston Square CofE School, Enford Street, W1H 1DL
Christ Church Bentnick CofE Primary School, Cosway Street, NW1 5NS
St Edwards RC Primary School, Lisson Grove, NW1 6LH
Queens College Preparatory School for girls, Fee Paying, Harley St, W1
Abercorn School, Fee Paying, 248 Marylebone Road, NW1
St Marylebone Cof E Secondary School, 64 Marylebone High Street, W1
Queens College, Fee Paying, 43-49 Harley Street, W1
Portland Place School, Fee paying, 56-58 Portland Place, W1
Barbara Windsor, actress
Peter York, commentator on style
Martha Lane Fox, .com entrepreneur