We tend not to be big fans of central London neighbourhoods- crowded, touristy and the itinerant super rich leave these beautiful neighbourhoods without any sense of community or the independent shops that give a 'hood its own identity. All apart from Marylebone, which has increasingly become one of our favourite London barrios. It's hard to believe the high street sits metres away from Oxford Street, the commercial heart of London.
Start wandering from the northern end of the high street by St Marylebone Parish Church where the area gets its name from. On Saturday's there is a market in the church yard called Cabbage and Frocks where you can pick up anything from bedouin food to vintage Chanel handbags or Hermes ties.
If you didn't know any better you would think you were in 21st arrondisment of Paris with so many French brands setting up shop on and off the high street from luxury kidswear Bonpoint and tea at Kusmi to kitchenware at Le Creuset and candlemaker Diptique. Our favourite of the moment is La Pâtisserie des Rêves, the London outpost of a Parisian patisserie. Perfect for picking up a special treat for a dinner party or when you want to impress someone special with an unexpected gift.
Wandering further along the high street, Daunt Books is a must. A rarity in this day. Daunt is an original Edwardian bookshop you could spend hours and plenty of your hard earned pounds in. With a wonderful travel section, beautiful oak floors and skylights, its nice to see Amazon hasn't destroyed everything in its wake.
Take a detour off the high street to Paddington Street to have a browse in James Taylor and sons which has been making bespoke shoes since 1857. Head then to Chiltern Street made infamous by the currently celebrity flavour of the month, the Chiltern Street Firehouse. Give it a miss and head instead for a coffee and cake at the Monocle Cafe from where you can people watch across the street in peace and read the latest edition of the Monocle magazine. Make sure to visit both locations of Trunk Clothiers on Chiltern street- the original store and Trunk Labs which stocks some of the finest range of menswear and accessories from global brands. We are big fans.
Head back to the high street and to "At the movies" a store which sells a original movie posters from The Godfather to the Bond movies. It's probably lunchtime so double back on yourself, picking up baguettes, cheese and other items from The natural kitchen or La Fromagerie and heading to the Regent Park for a picnic lunch. If you are feeling a bit more flush and prefer a sit down meal try the Orrery located on the first floor of a converted stable block above the Conran shop, overlooking the church gardens. Its rooftop terrace is a wonderful sanctuary lined with lavender and olive trees and a closely kept secret transporting you from hustle and bustle of London to Proveance in a blink