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Revision as of 18:12, 30 August 2010
Mayfair and Marylebone is a district of central London
This is a large area of central London with the south encompassing the whole of Mayfair and Piccadilly and the north the whole area from Oxford Street through Marylebone to Regent's Park and the border with St John's Wood.
Mayfair is named after the fortnight-long May Fair that took place there from 1686 until it was banned from that location in 1764. (Before 1686, the May Fair was held in the Haymarket; after 1764, it moved to Fair Field in Bow). The area was owned by the Grosvenor family and much of the land is still part of the Grosvenor Estate, having been originally developed for residences from the late seventeenth century. This is an extremely well-heeled district, as symbolised by its appearance as the most expensive property on the London Monopoly board, closely followed by one of its main thoroughfares, Park Lane. The district includes several major shopping streets, including Bond Street, Regent Street, Jermyn Street and much of Oxford Street.
Marylebone to the north of Oxford Street, is less grand than Mayfair but is still home to some very desirable housing, as well major tourist attraction such as Madame Tussaud's, The Planetarium, the fictional haunt of Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street and the wide open green space of Regent's Park.
There are a lot of tube stations in the area, making the district extremely easy to access, with all sites of interest a maximum of 10-15 minutes walk from any station:
- Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines).
- Oxford Circus (Central and Bakerloo lines).
- Marble Arch (Central line).
- Baker Street (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith, Jubilee and Bakerloo lines)
- Bond Street (Central line).
- Green Park (Piccadilly and Victoria lines).
- Edgware Road (Circle, District and Hammersmith lines).
- Regents Park (Bakerloo line).
- Marylebone (Bakerloo line).
- Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line).
- Warren Street (Victoria and Northern lines)
The Tube is the best way to reach Oxford Street; although there are plenty of buses serving the area, the traffic congestion is pretty bad, and the wait can be lengthy. The Central Line runs pretty much directly beneath Oxford Street at this point, with four stations along its length: Marble Arch, Bond Street (also served by the Jubilee Line), Oxford Circus (also served by the Bakerloo and Victoria lines), and Tottenham Court Road (also served by the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line). If possible, avoid Oxford Circus Station, as its layout is confusing and it's also very busy; at times it can be difficult to get out of the station at all due to pedestrian congestion outside.
Marylebone Station is also a mainline rail station, this terminus for trains from Birmingham, Warwick, Banbury, Aylesbury and High Wycombe is one of the best preserved Victorian railway stations. With Oxford Street on its southern boundary, there are no shortage of buses.
- 23 & 7 travel up Edgware Rd and on towards Bayswater & Notting Hill.
- Grosvenor Square. Nicknamed Little America, it is home to the American Embassy and a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- Marble Arch, (Where the north-eastern point of Hyde Park meets the south-western tip of Marylebone). This enormous arch was originally situated in front of Buckingham Palace. In 1851 the expansion of the palace meant the arch could no longer remain where it was, so it was moved to this point on Hyde Park. It now stands rather sadly on a large traffic island, but the subway beneath the roads mean you can stop off at the Marble Arch on your way from Oxford St to Hyde Park.
- Regents Park, (tube: Baker St or Regent's Park), ☎ +44 20 7486 7905 ([email protected]), . Large open space very popular with Londoners and less visited by tourists than the other great city parks. A number of lovely lakes, an open air theatre, regular puppet shows, various sporting activities and some splendid ancient trees. There is also a cafe and play area next to the boating pond.
- Regent's Park Mosque, 146 Park Rd NW1, ([email protected]), . Islamic Cultural Centre, much better known as Regent's Park Mosque. This the is main mosque in London. Visitors are welcome but must be suitably attired. The Mosque runs classes, prayers, talks and events.
- Speaker's Corner. Over the road from Marble Arch in Hyde Park itself, is a traditional location for preachers and speakers of all types wanting to be heard. It is the one place in England where anyone can say whatever they like (with the one exception of treason). On Sunday morning some dozen or more orators turn up with a box or stepladder and talk loudly about whatever it is they feel strongly about, be it religion, capitalism, the government, or whether the aliens really are coming to get us. Yes it is a bit of a nuthouse but very amusing to behold and must be seen to be believed. You can not help thinking it is good there is somewhere for people like this to go.
- Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner (tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line)). A grand neoclassical arch, designed by Decimus Burton and first erected in 1826 as a grand entrance to Buckingham Palace. From 1846 onwards, the arch was topped with a massive equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington - a major road widening of Piccadilly in 1882 was the opportunity to finally remove the over sized statue to Aldershot. The present magnificent statue Peace Descending on the Quadriga of War was placed on top of the Arch in 1912, and remains today the largest bronze sculpture in the United Kingdom, spectacularly lit at night. During the 1950s, the arch served as the smallest police station in the city, when it was occupied by ten constables, two sergeants and a cat! The arch was opened to the public for the first time in April 2001 after a £1.5 million restoration by English Heritage. (Wellington Arch is also available for corporate and private events - with dramatic views down Constitution Hill and across central London from the Arch's spacious balconies, Wellington Arch is a novel and unique place to impress your guests).
- ZSL London Zoo (London Zoo), Outer Circle Regent's Park, NW1 4RY, ☎ +44 20 7722 3333, . 10AM-4PM daily, closed Christmas Day. London's main zoo in the northern part of Regent's Park. Takes a very conservation-driven approach these days and always has great exhibits aimed at children. £14.80, £11.80 under 15s, £13,30 adult students and other concessions.
Museums and Galleries
- Apsley House (The Wellington Museum), Duke of Wellington Pl/169 Piccadilly (tube: Hyde Park Corner), ☎ +44 20 7499 5676, . W-Su 11AM-5PM. The former home of the 1st Duke of Wellington, boasting an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture, medals and swords. £4.50. £5.
- Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street W1K 4HB (tube: Bond Street), ☎ +44 20 7495 1685 ([email protected]), . Tu,W,F,Sa 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Home to the baroque composer George Frideric Handel from 1723 until his death in 1759. Some of the greatest classical music ever composed was done so at this address. The museum charts Handel's life and works and offers recitals of music in the magnificent setting of the period rooms. By means of contrast, next door was home to Jimi Hendrix when he lived in London in 1969! £2-5.
- Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium, Marylebone Rd (tube: Baker St), ☎ +44 (0) 871 894 3000, . M-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa Su 9:30AM-5:30PM. Madame Tussaud's is a world famous waxwork museum, best known for its Grand Hall, with a collection of international royalty, statesmen and world leaders. Visitors generally report that the entrance fee does not warrant the selection of waxworks on show, which rarely resemble the celebrities. Also, there is usually a long queue stretching down the road. The Planetarium offers a good mix of education and entertainment, however. £10-20 ('fee includes access to both attractions, but pricing depends on time of visit, price decreases as closing time approaches, and whether visitors wish to pass through the Chamber of Horrors').
- The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly (Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus), ☎ +44 20 7300 8000, . Su-Th 10AM-6PM, F 10AM-10PM. The Royal Academy no longer has a permanent exhibition space, instead hosting art exhibitions. Notable recent exhibitions have included the paintings of Monet, contemporary art associated with the theme of apocalypse, and Aztec art. Each Summer, the Royal Academy gives exhibition plays host to a Summer Exhibition, displaying 1,200 new works by established and new artists selected by the academy, most of which are available for visitors to buy. Each member has to donate a work of art, so over the years, the academy has built a sizable collection. Exhibitions are invariably excellent, and it is worth paying for audio guides, if they are not included. Visitors should book tickets in advance, as exhibitions are often very popular - particularly shortly after opening. £7 to £9 ('admission price varies between exhibitions).
- Sherlock Holmes Museum, 239 Baker St (Also known as 221B Baker St), ☎ +44 20 7935 8866, . 9:30AM-6PM daily. Discover mementos of this famous fictional detective. £6.
- Wallace Collection, Manchester Sq (tube: Bond St), ☎ +44 20 7563 9527, . 10AM-5PM daily. The Wallace Collection is one of the world's finest private art collections, the best known of which is Frans Hals's work The Laughing Cavalier. Other artists on display include Rembrandt, Titian, Poussin, and Reynolds. Well worth escaping to after the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Free.
- Curzon Mayfair, 38 Curzon St, ☎ +44 20 7495 0500, . Retro 70s decor, a relaxing bar area and comfortable seating combine with a great art-house billing, easily one of the best cinemas in London.
- London Friday Night Skate, (Hyde Park Corner), . F 8PM. Group street skate every Friday night.
- Sunday Stroll, (Serpentine Road), . Su 2PM. Group street skate.
Oxford Street has been a shopping mecca since 1908, will max out your credit card and will provide you with a store for anything you need. Selfridges is worth a visit for its food hall; it also has a great selection of bottled beers. John Lewis is good for fabrics, knitting supplies, other crafts, furniture, and homewares in general. Intersecting Oxford St proper is Regent St, which houses the famous Liberty department store, again worth a visit for fabrics and home furnishings. Also interesting is the Dickens and Jones department store. A little further east from Regent St is Tottenham Court Rd, which hosts regular computer fairs where you can pick up computer components very cheaply.
If your taste is for mainstream designer label gooods, try Bond Street. Synonymous with international designers and luxury goods, it is a great way to experience London's finest at its best. The street is recognized as the premier location for shopping in London, and perhaps the world, featuring brands and designer labels recognized the world over.
Saville Row is synonymous with perhaps the highest quality men's suits in the world. There are many bespoke tailors to chose from, most of whom are behind quite discrete shop fronts. If you feel like really treating yourself, nothing could be more London than a suit from Saville Row and a shirt from Jermyn St.
- Aspreys, 167 New Bond St W1S 4AY (tube: Bond Street), ☎ +44 20 7493 6767, . One of the most famous luxury jewellers anywhere in the world. At least have a look in the window
- Burberry, 21-23 New Bond St W1S 2RE, . Until its recent and totally inexplicable adoption by the Hip Hop fashion industry, this was the most staid and traditional Britsh clothing label imaginable! visit the flagship store on Bond St and look at the famous check.
- Fortnum and Mason, 181 Piccadilly W1A 1ER, ☎ +44 20 7734 8040, . World famous as grocers to the British Royal Family, Fortnum's original store has been here in Piccadilly since 1707.
- Grays Antique Markets, 58 Davies St & 1-7 Davies Mews W1K 5AB (tube: Bond Street), ☎ +44 20 7629 7034 ([email protected]), . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. A remarkably diverse collection of antique and collectibles dealers all under one roof adjoining Bond St station. Certainly the best option in central London for visitors interestd in collectibles in particular.
- Hamley's, 188-196 Regent St W1B 5BT (tube: Oxford Circus), ☎ 0800 280 2444, . Unleash your inner child, and your children at Hamleys, the largest toy store in England. With over seven floors, you could spend hours here.
- Liberty, Great Marlborough St W1B 5AH (tube: Oxford Circus, the main frontage is on Regent St despite the address), ☎ +44 20 7734 1234 ([email protected]), . The flagship, original store of the world famous British brand. Lovely old building and great fun to browse in Liberty even if you are not going to buy something!
- Maroush, Edgware Rd. A chain of Middle Eastern food including
- Migen. Pan-asian food at budget prices. The owner has his supplies shipped in specifically from the far east, and declares his secret is always using chillies from the country of the dish. If you are stuck for choice, try the agedashi-dofu (deep-fried tofu with dipping sauce).
- Paul, Marylebone High St. French patisserie and bakery with some seating available.
- Seashell, 49-51 Lisson Grove NW1 6UH (tube: Marylebone), ☎ +44 20 7224 9000 ([email protected]), . M-F noon-2.30PM 5.00PM-10.30PM, Sa noon-10.30PM, Su noon-4PM. A premium fish and chip shop that has some seating as well as dishing up hundreds of take-away packages every day. Londoners travel miles to order here. The effort is well and truly worth it.
- Carluccio's Caffè, St. Christopher’s Place, ☎ +44 20 7935 5927. M-F 8AM-11PM, Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 10AM-10PM. Creative Italian cuisine, enjoy a bottle of pinot grigio at the bar while waiting for a table to free. Main £6-15.
- Giraffe. World food at great prices. Great for children
- Tapa Room, Marylebone High St. With the more formal Providores restaurant upstairs.
- Chez Gerard, 31 Dover Street W1S 4ND (at the northern end of Dover St, tube: Green Park,), ☎ +44 20 7499 8171, . French brasserie of some repute. Two storey restaurant.
- Coco Momo, 70 Marylebone High. Trendy and upbeat atmosphere with an extensive cocktail list.
- Jetlag, Under the iconic BT Tower, ☎ +44 20 3370 5838, . M-Th 10AM-11PM, F Sa 10AM-midnight. International cocktail bar delivering cocktails from around the world with Japanese and global inspired food menu. Also a cinema screen showing high definition sport and can be hired out for special functions. Affordable luxury.
- Low Life, Marylebone. Basement bar with DJs.
- The Volunteer, 247 Baker St. A great pub for a relaxed evening. Great atmosphere and a minute walk from Baker Street Tube.
- Windsor Castle. A local pub popular with the London Business School crowd.
Whilst Oxford Street is one of the most safe streets in central London, there are, however, a few things to be aware of:
Begging & "The Clipboard People" Most homeless people asking for money won't and don't usually physically accost you, however, you will see them selling the "Big Issue". "The Clipboard People" are usually students who have been recruited by a charity to waylay passersby and ask if they want to sign up to their charity. Please remember that you are not obliged to purchase either product although "The Clipbard People" are usually far more persistant and will try and attract you in a more aggressive manner. To get rid of these people just say "No" firmly or ignore them.
Targeting If you are a young woman on her own you may become targeted by young men working in the t-shirt shops who wish to invite you for a meal and become quite persistant or young men saying that they have "seen you around" and want to know your name. Firmly tell them "No" and walk away, they should leave you alone. If you do have to pass by one of the shops where you have been targeted, usually expect nothing more than a cat-call. Remember if you do feel harrassed, please call the Police.
Buses at night It is safer for the lone traveller to sit downstairs and towards the front. It is inadvisable to sit at either the back, (as these seats are monopolised by youths), or upstairs. If you must sit upstairs it is not recommended that you sit at the back.
- Oxford Street Youth Hostel, 14 Noel St, . A busy, vibrant hostel, not a place for a quiet break. Self-catering kitchen. 2-4 bed rooms. Adults from £24.50.
- 20 Hertford Street Apartments, 20 Hertford St W1J 7RX, ☎ 0845 226 9831 ([email protected]), . From £69 per night to £400 per night.
- Holiday Inn Oxford Circus, 57-59 Welbeck St, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Clean hotel.
- Lincoln House Hotel, 33 Gloucester Pl (Marble Arch), . A three star accommodation a few minutes from Madame Tussauds, Sherlock Holmes museum, Hyde Park corner. On average £79.
- Langham London, 1C Portland Pl, Regent St. Opened in 1865 as Europe's grand hotel, the Langham still retains its elegance and charm with luxuriously furnished rooms and spectacular views.
- The Montcalm Hotel, Great Cumberland Pl, Marble Arch London, . 120 bedrooms and suites with all marble bathrooms, a minute's walk from Hyde Park, Marble Arch and Oxford Street shopping.
- Claridge's, 49 Brook St, ☎ +44 20 7629 8860, . A London institution for those in the know. On the corner of Brook street and Davies street. Famous for serving traditional afternoon tea and hosts Gordon Ramsay's restaurant.
- The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Pl, ☎ +44 20 7499 7070, . . Individually designed suites and rooms by Guy Oliver. Recently opened Hélène Darroze's restaurant, a Michelin-starred French chef.
- Dorchester Hotel, Park Ln, . One of the most prestigious five-star luxury hotels anywhere in the world owned by the Brunei royal family. If you have to ask the rates, you probably can not afford to stay here.
- Grand Residences by Marriott, 47 Park St, ☎ +44, .
- Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill, 30 Portman Sq, ☎ +44 20 7486 5800 ([email protected]), . Five star hotel with 444 rooms and suites. The hotel is host to Locanda Locatelli Michelin star Italian restaurant.
- London Marriott Hotel Marble Arch, . Less expensive than some of the other hotels in the area. It is on a side street, so it is a little quieter. The rooms are reasonably sized, the beds have been upgraded. The hotel is in a district that has a lot of Middle Eastern shops and restaurants. People can be seen smoking hookahs in the cafes in the neighborhood. Very close to the shopping on Oxford St. Rooms have high speed internet at £15 per day.
- London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, . In the heart of Mayfair, adjacent to Hyde Park and a stroll from Oxford ST and Bond St. Originally built as a large townhouse, the hotel has been newly refurbished.
- Park Lane Mews Hotel, Park Ln, . A luxury four star hotel. Minutes walk to Knightsbridge, Oxford Street, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Regents Street and Hyde Park. Combines the charm of a traditional boutique hotel with modern facilities.
- The Mandeville Hotel, Mandeville Place, ☎ +44 207 935 5599, . Modern amenities including LCD flat-screen TV, iPod docking stations, and WiFi access. £90-£185.
- The Ritz Hotel London (The Ritz), 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR, ☎ +44 20 7493 8181, . One of the London's great hotels for more than a century. Located on Piccadilly over-looking Green Park. If you cannot afford to stay here (likely), then a splurge on afternoon tea is recommended. Dress appropriately though otherwise you will not get past the door.
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