Oxford Street, the old one that is, packs in Olympic shoppers even on non-Olympic summer days. This year on this high street of high streets that stretches from the Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, the very black-clad burqa gals from steamy-hot Middle Eastern lands stroll the cool outdoor mall of Oxford Street immersed in a flurry of colorful London 2012 crowds.
Need a reprieve? Lucky for you there’s MARYLEBONE.
Slip off of Oxford Street onto Marybone Lane – once your a few blocks along you’ll traverse some charmed London architecture and the destination-worthy WALLACE COLLECTION at Manchester Square (just east on Hinde Street). You’re here because four generations of the Marquesses of Hertford House filled this onetime private residence with artwork and furnishings spanning the 15th-19th centuries. Once you’ve had your fill of the arts, time for you to hit Marylebone High Street and from there you can enjoys the greens of Regent’s Park.
Take the turn of off Oxford Street to Marylebone Lane and kiss-kiss the big retailers goodbye. There’s nothing much to the first segment of your journey but cross over Wigmore Street and Marylebone’s charms shine through. It’s old school at DAVID PENTON AND SON, aka PENTON’S hardware shop where locals have been coming sInce 1841. Next up, THE BUTTON QUEEN a quirky shop where buttons, vintage and up-t0-date, are the rule of the day. To the barber add a delicatessen, sausage shop and oh, a smattering of small boutiques to prep you for the niche branded retailers along Marylebone High Street.
Lots of polish to the forward thinking and sustainable-organic minded plates of ONE08. If the up-to-date contemporary style that looks out-of-date isn’t part of your taste level then onward Eater to the charms of CALDESI, an Italian restaurant paired with a cooking school and its add day CAFFE CALDESI. A stop in London wouldn’t be complete with out a bit of fish and chips and THE GOLDEN HIND (73 Marylebone Lane, tel. 020 7403 0123, no website) has been frying up haddock, plaice and cod excellence for decades. Go from surf to turf across the lane where it’s a straight menu of steak frites at LE RELAIS DE VENISE. This may be a chain but we’re always game for this well primed meat stop. For a light bite or just an eye site, make your way to BIGGLES, an oddly adorable sausage shop and the old school British delicatessen PAUL ROTHE & SON (35 Marylebone Lane, tel. 020 7935 6783, no website).
Pheww, still hungry? Then time to hit Marylebone High Street. There’s a good chance you’ll be underwhelmed by the slew of restaurants that try to beckon you and your dining dollars indoors for not necessarily bad but not exceptional food.
Play it safe at PAUL or LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN - they may be all over London but heck, you can’t go wrong with their satisfying rustic-edged eats. Sidle to Moxon Street for a stop at THE GINGER PIG butchers for a sausage roll to go or LA FROMAGERIE where the food shop is elevated to art installation. From its acclaimed cheese selection to produce and vegetables, you’ll pay a bit of premium but justly so to satisfy your finely honed sustainable, organic and artisanal grocery list. If
there’s a seat, by all means take the time for a plate of these cherry-picked eats.
Reserve a table at THE PROVIDORES restaurant or roll into it’s all day TAPA ROOM where breakfast, lunch and dinner make for inventive and satisfying dines. On your way up the street pass by ORRERY EPICERIE which falls flat but do make a stopover at the second floor ORRERY restaurant, a Terrance Conran production that is a Marylebone fine dine and, if the weather is in your favor an ideal terraced London lunchtime.
Now that you’ve eaten, perhaps a short stop at the St. Marylebone Parish Church Gardens and then, tallyho, to the greens of REGENT’S PARK you’ll go.