This lovely 5km (3 mile) walk takes you from Bond Street underground station to Edgware Road underground station via some of the prettiest roads, mews and garden squares of Marylebone. Just take your time, enjoy the beautiful buildings, stop for a coffee and cake, leisurely lunch or pint of ale in an old London pub away from most of the tourist crowds!
We start this walk at Bond Street underground station.
As you exit the station onto Oxford Street, turn left (West) and cross over to the other side of Oxford Street at the pedestrian crossing traffic lights. Oxford Street is Europe’s busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, and as of 2012 had approximately 300 shops. The road was originally part of the Via Trinobantina, a Roman road between Essex and Hampshire via London. It was known as Tyburn Road through the Middle Ages when it was notorious for public hangings of prisoners in Newgate Prison. It became known as Oxford Road and then Oxford Street in the 18th century, and began to change from residential to commercial and retail premises by the late 19th century, attracting street traders, confidence tricksters and prostitution! The first department stores in Britain opened in the early 20th century, including Selfridges, John Lewis and HMV. Unlike nearby shopping streets such as Bond Street, it has retained an element of downmarket trading alongside more prestigious retail stores. Oxford Street remains in high demand as a retail location, with several chains hosting their flagship stores on the street, and has a number of listed buildings. The annual switching on of Christmas lights by a celebrity has been a popular event since 1959.
Turn left after the crossing to continue along Oxford Street a short distance, crossing over Stratford Place, and turn right into the passageway called Gee’s Court leading through to St Christopher’s Place. Blink and you will miss this alley – it is very narrow where it meets Oxford Street!
Continue up Gee’s Court and it changes into St Christopher’s Place, which was originally known as Barrett’s Court after the original local owner John Barrett. In the 18th Century and early 19th Century the area became a slum, situated off Tyburn Street (now Oxford Street), which lead directly to the Tyburn Gallows at Marble Arch. The last public hanging took place in 1783. Redeveloped in the 1870’s for social housing under the patronage of Octavia Hill, joint founder of the National Trust, the street also included a variety of historic trades – lamp making, chandlers, cheese-mongers, drapers and bookmakers. The Lamb & Flag public house became a favourite haunt for anarchists.
Above: Plenty of places to stop to eat!
Continue up St Christopher’s Place until you come out onto the A5204 Wigmore Street and turn right along this street. Walk along here, crossing over Marylebone Lane when safe to do so, then turn right down Welbeck Street. At the end, turn left into Henrietta Place and walk along here until you reach Cavendish Square Gardens on your left. Walk around the back of these gardens, turning left to head up the East side of the gardens (Map Point 1).
Above: Enjoying a summer’s afternoon in one of London’s garden squares
Cross over A5204 Wigmore Street when safe to do so and continue straight ahead into Chandos Street.
Take the first right into Portland Place and across the main road in front of you (A4201 Langham Place) you will see the famous building of BBC Broadcasting House (Map Point 2).
Above: BBC Broadcasting House at Portland Place
BBC Broadcasting House at Portland Place is the headquarters of the BBC, where the first radio broadcast from the building was made on 15 March 1932. The main building is in Art Deco style, with a facing of Portland stone.
Head back along Portland Place to turn right into Chandos Street to continue your walk. Follow Chandos Street round to the left where it becomes Queen Anne Street. Take the first road on your right, Mansfield Street. Continue to the end of Mansfield Street and turn left onto New Cavendish Street. Cross over to the other side when safe to do so, then turn right into the famous Harley Street (Map Point 3).
Harley Street has been noted since the 19th century for its large number of private specialists in medicine and surgery. It was named after Thomas Harley who was Lord Mayor of London in 1767.
Walk up this small part of Harley Street (Map Point 3) and turn first left into Weymouth Street. Cross over to the other side of the road when safe to do so and take the first right into Devonshire Mews South. This is a lovely quiet, cobbled lane of mews cottages. When you exit the mews, turn left onto Devonshire Street. Walk along here until you reach the main Marylebone High Street, where you will find a large selection of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.
Above: Marylebone High Street
Turn left onto the High Street and wander down a short distance to come to the pedestrian zebra crossings to go over to the other side of the road. Cross here, turning left after the second crossing to walk down Paddington Street. Continue along here until you come to Ashland Place on your left, and just after here, the entrance into Paddington Street Gardens (Map Point 4).
Above: Paddington Street Gardens
Pop into these gardens for some greenery! Paddington Street Gardens were formed during the 18th century as an additional burial ground for the old St Marylebone Parish Church. The land on the south side of Paddington Street (established in the 1760s), was donated to the parish by Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford, in 1730 and consecrated as a burial ground in 1733. In 1885 the gardens became a recreational ground which was officially opened by HRH Princess Louise on 6 July 1886. Most of the tombstones have been removed but the mausoleum in the south garden that was erected by the Hon Richard Fitzpatrick to the memory of his wife Susanna who died in 1759 aged 30 remains due to its notable design.
Above: Remember to look up above shop front level to see some lovely architecture above
Exit the gardens where you came in, back onto Paddington Street, turning left to continue along that street. Take the first road you come to on your left, Chiltern Street, and walk along here admiring the many upmarket shops. Cross over Dorset Street when safe to do so to continue along Chiltern Street and more designer shops! Chiltern Street is the newest shopping and dining destination on The Portman Estate. Voted “London’s Coolest Street” by Condé Nast Traveler, the street has its own distinctive character, with an instantly recognisable row of red brick frontages and a Grade II listed Victorian fire station, now transformed into a boutique hotel.
At the end of Chiltern Street, turn left onto Blandford Street. Cross over Manchester Street when safe to do so to continue along Blandford Street until you reach B524 Marylebone High Street/Thayer Street. Use the pedestrian zebra crossing to cross over to the far side of Marylebone High Street when safe to do so, and continue almost straight ahead into Marylebone Lane.
Above: A traditional London pub on Marylebone Lane
This lane is today dotted with many bijou shops but dates back to the original medieval village of Tyburn, which stood at the south end of the lane near Oxford Street where Stratford Place is now. The lane followed the course of the River Tyburn, which once ran south alongside it before crossing Oxford Street, giving the lane a narrow and winding character that is still seen today. The Tyburn has since been culverted and enclosed, and now runs entirely underground.
Follow Marylebone Lane round to the right, crossing over Bulstrode Street when safe to do so. Continue along the Lane until you reach Hinde Street and turn right here. Walk along Hinde Street until you come to Thayer Street and use the pedestrian crossing lights to cross over when safe to do so. Continue straight ahead along a continuation of Hinde Street on the other side. Just ahead of you are Manchester Square Gardens, with the Wallace Collection (Map Point 5) in a beautiful building on the North side of these gardens, round to your right.
The Wallace Collection is a national museum in an historic London town house. In 25 galleries you will find unsurpassed displays of French 18th-century painting, furniture and porcelain with superb Old Master paintings and a world class armoury. Even better, admission is free! Open 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm. Closed 24 – 26 December. Check current details at http://www.wallacecollection.org/
Continue your walk around to the opposite side of Manchester Square to head along Fitzhardinge Street.
You will reach Portman Square Gardens – walk around these to come out on the South side on Portman Square itself (built between 1765 and 1784). On Duke Street, a short distance to the South of Portman Square you will find a blue plaque commemorating the famous Simon Bolivar (at 4 Duke St.) Bolivar was a Venezuelan military and political leader who played a leading role in the establishment of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama as sovereign states, independent of Spanish rule.
Cross over Gloucester Place when safe to do so to walk along Seymour Street, a continuation of Portman Square (Map Point 6). Turn right up New Quebec Street, where you will find a selection of local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and cross over Upper Berkeley Street at the pedestrian zebra crossing on your left hand side when safe to do so to continue straight ahead up Montagu Street. At the junction with George Street turn right and cross to the other side of the road when safe to do so. Continue along George Street, with the bottom end of Montagu Square Gardens on your left hand side. Montagu Square was built between 1810-1815 as part of the Portman Estate. At first it was leased to a builder called David Porter, and he named the square after his former mistress, Elizabeth Montagu, from when he was a chimney sweep!
Above: A Marylebone Mews house
Just after Montagu Square turn left into Gloucester Place Mews. Walk along here to the end and turn left into Montague Place walking back towards the top end of Montague Square Gardens. Walk along to the far side of Montague Square Gardens.
If you are a Beatles fan, then take a short detour down this side of Montague Square where you will find a Blue Plaque to John Lennon at number 34. John Winston Ono Lennon MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, and peace activist who co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He and fellow member Paul McCartney formed a much-celebrated songwriting partnership. Along with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the group would ascend to worldwide fame during the 1960s.
Above: The Beatles
In fact, this address has many Beatles connections! The ground floor and basement flat was once leased by Beatles member Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s (its location is just over a mile from the Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded). Paul McCartney recorded demo songs here, such as “I’m Looking Through You”, and worked on various compositions, including “Eleanor Rigby”. With the help of Ian Sommerville he converted the flat to a studio for Apple Corps’ avant-garde Zapple label, recording William S. Burroughs for spoken-word Zapple albums. Jimi Hendrix and his manager, Chas Chandler, later lived there with their girlfriends. Whilst living there, Hendrix composed “The Wind Cries Mary”. For three months, John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented the flat, taking a photograph that would become the cover of their Two Virgins album. After the police raided the flat looking for drugs, the landlord of the property sought an injunction against Starr to prevent it from being used for anything untoward or illegal. Starr sold the lease in February 1969.
Cross to the other side of Montagu Place and walk up Upper Montagu Street. Turn left into Crawford Street where you will find a selection of local shops. Cross over to the other side of Crawford Street where safe to do and look for the pedestrianised courtyard in front of the entrance to St Mary’s Church on your right hand side a little further along (opposite Wyndham Place). Walk into this courtyard area, and follow the path around to the left of the Church to come out on Wyndham Place on the other side, and then turn left onto York Street.
Above: Montagu Place, Marylebone, London
Cross over Seymour Place when safe to do so, to carry on straight ahead into a continuation of York Street. Follow this round the bend at the end where it changes into Harcourt Street. You will find a selection of cafes, bars and restaurants in this area. Walk to the end of Harcourt Street then turn left onto the Old Marylebone Road. Walk down here, crossing over to the other side of the road when safe to do so. Turn right up Transept Street and admire the impressive red brick mansion style apartments that line this road.
Above: Transept Street mansion apartments
At the end, turn left onto Chapel Street and a short distance along here you will find Edgware Road underground station where this walk ends.
Overview of Route:
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