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Hidden European Neighborhoods

Martin Morrell Shopping on Rue Lepic

Photo: Shopping on Rue Lepic

London: Marylebone

Despite being right in the heart of London, the thriving neighborhood of Marylebone (pronounced mary-le-bone) maintains a fairly low profile. Tourists to London rarely venture south of Madame Tussauds on Marylebone Road, and the shoppers on Oxford Street almost never stray north to Marylebone High Street. Those who do discover a world of independent cafés, homegrown designer shops and markets, epicurean emporiums, and lovingly restored Victorian pubs. Though the stream (or bourne) that once ran along St. Marylebone Church and gave Marylebone its name has long since been built over with slender Georgian town houses and cozy squares, you need only turn to the tranquil Paddington Gardens at the neighborhood’s center for a glimpse of the area’s rural past. The overall effect—of a sort of village unto itself—is a gentle reminder that small-town living can happen even in the largest of cities.—Alison Tyler


The 142-room Mandeville Hotel brings a hip design aesthetic (mirrored tables; padded-leather headboards) to the area. Each of the 16 rooms at the Montagu Place Hotel retains Georgian features, including freestanding bathtubs.


For updated British dishes such as saddle of Cornish lamb with tarragon jus, stop by L’Autre Pied. Both the Prince Regent and the restored Inn 1888 are traditional pubs, though at 1888 the pints arrive accompanied by Thai food.


Marylebone High Street is full of up-and-coming British design, from the vintage-style bags at Cath Kidston to the hand-painted Yorkshire pottery at Emma Bridgewater. Daunt Books is possibly the most beautiful bookstore in London, with original Edwardian, oak-paneled galleries.


The new Cabbages and Frocks market is an eccentric cocktail of locally designed clothing, vintage accessories, and goodies like freshly baked cupcakes.


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