"High street" is a commonly used British term simply meaning the main street of a town (like "main street" in the US). You'll find one in most British towns and in most London neighbourhoods, and this is the place that you will locate the banks, grocery stores and various shops (mainstream commercial fashion even being referred to as "high street fashion"). As such, high streets are often bustling roads, but Marylebone High Street is somewhat of an exception. It is a fairly busy street, but its full of people enjoying themselves and not hustling to get to somewhere else. This may be down to its somewhat secluded location, with the top of the road between Baker Street and Regents Park and far enough away from Regents Street and Oxford Circus not to be affected by them. Marylebone High Street is a delight.
On Saturday, I spent hours at The Conran Shop and Daunt Books, made a quick stop at Divermenti and had a long, solo lunch at Natural Kitchen. I really like exploring the city on my own, and it had been quite a while since I had been reminded of this fact.
Billing itself as a leading lifestyle retailer, The Conran Shop, in an old stable buildings at the top of Marylebone High Street, has three brilliantly laid out floors of furniture, classic design, lighting, textiles, books, gifts and accessories. I have spent hours window shopping on The Conran Shop website, and it was great to do this in person. It sincerely made me wish I had gifts to buy or a new flat to furnish, just so I would have a better excuse to buy something.
Daunt Books is predominately a travel bookstore, but they do have a ample fiction, non-fiction and children's sections. Something notably enjoyable about non-commercial bookstores like this - they lay books out on the display tables because they're recommended as good books, and not because they're 3 for 2 or buy one get one half off. Refreshing.
The travel books are laid out in a way that I have never seen before and thoroughly enjoyed. In the same section as the travel guides, are books on the history, language, literature, fashion and art of that country. You get a whole cultural picture while searching for a guide book.
Natural Kitchen is a cafe, restaurant and deli. The restaurant and deli counters sell seasonal food with fresh, organic produce, sourced from local farmers whenever possible. There is a butcher's counter, a gift area and an array of packaged organic foods for sale. I had the salad box, which involves a choice of three of the seasonal salads from the deli counter, and a cappuccino - all really great (although slightly pricey).
Marylebone High Street also has a number of boutiques, home stores, high street clothing stores, nice pubs and restaurants. It is a place to return to again and again.
(All photos taken by me unless otherwise noted.)