Baker Street conjures up images of Gerry Rafferty and a certain deerstalker-wearing detective. But there's more to Marylebone than its main drag, so let us show you some places to visit that are nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes or Madame Tussauds.
Find a lost river
Marylebone's pretty much a grid system, right? So how to explain the meandering path of Marylebone Lane? Simple: it follows the course of the Tyburn river. So while you're admiring the street's other delights (read on), know the Tyburn is burbling away, enclosed, nearby.
Visit London's most beautiful bookshop
Daunt Books's original and best location is on Marylebone High Street. The Edwardian building was originally created for an antiquarian bookseller, and the shop keeps that hushed, elegant feel with its long gallery and stained glass arched window. Towards the front, books are shelved like any other bookshop, but towards the back they're arranged by country — whether travel guide, fiction or non-fiction.
You can also explore inside the shop on Google Street View, but you should visit in person too.
There's a little corner of Marylebone that's forever Sweden. The Harcourt, on Harcourt Street, is more restaurant than pub these days, and the snug is no longer decorated with pictures of Roxette and ABBA, but the menu still keeps its Scandinavian heritage. You can eat gravadlax, reindeer and cloudberry cheesecake, washed down with akvavit (or aquavit if you want to be Anglophone about it).
Opposite, the Swedish Church presents concerts, exhibitions, an annual Christmas market and runs a café with Swedish newspapers and homemade cinnamon buns.
Totally Swedish on Crawford Street is the place to pick up some Swedish food and drink, books, magazines and handcrafts. You'll never want for herring again.
If you can't get a table at Nuno Mendes's lauded Chiltern Firehouse (and let's face it, it's highly unlikely), try Jikoni on Blandford Street for melting comfort food with touches of India and Africa. Or there's Italian Fucina on the corner of Chiltern and Paddington Streets, where the crostini melt in the mouth and they have wonderful ways with sweet potato.
Lower down the price scale and further along Paddington Street is Pizza Nativa, where you can pick up a generous slice of Margherita at lunchtime for less than £4. If that's not enough cheese, head to La Fromagerie on Moxon Street. During the day there's hearty, non-dairy food available but it's the lunchtime cheese and wine boards that are the real draw, plus special menus on Monday and Friday nights. And of course, you can buy something stinky to take home.
For something more virtuous, try Daylesford's organic cafe on Blandford Street; or fresh, seasonal, local, often gluten- and dairy-free food at The Good Life on Marylebone Lane. Veggies should head to Noa on Baker Street, which we think will be challenging the Eats and Tosseds of the world for lunchtime domination soon.
And don't forget the best cinnamon buns in London, from Nordic Bakery's Marylebone outlet on Dorset Street.
Despite several Marylebone pubs having closed down recently (farewell, the Windsor Castle and Dover Castle; the Thornbury Castle should probably watch its back) there are still several excellent places to grab a pint.
The Golden Eagle on Marylebone Lane is a time capsule back to a forgotten age where Londoners had a knees up around the ol' joanna; and indeed there still is a piano among the scuffed carpets and ornate bar furnishings. For more beautiful surroundings, try the Angel in the Fields just up the road. It looks nothing from the outside, but Sam Smiths has done it again when it comes to gorgeous interiors.
The Gunmakers on Aybrook Street has four pumps for real ales and stouts, but the real reason to visit is the resident black cat, Purdy.
For cocktails, go to Purl on Blandford Street, for a speakeasy vibe and drinks with fogs and foams. The Marylebone on the High Street does reasonably priced cocktails with two-for-one offers all week (and all afternoon on weekends). Burlock on Duke Street has 200 rums to sample; let us know when you've got through them all.
A shout out must go to Sourced Market's second site, on the corner of Wigmore Street and Marylebone Lane. Among the cheese and charcuterie is a fine selection of craft beer, which you can take away or sit in and sup. There's also beer and wine on tap.
While there are plenty of well known names to part you from your cash, and plenty of boutique shopping on Marylebone High Street, these are a few more original (and affordable) joints to check out.
Cadenhead's are Scotland's oldest independent whisky bottler, and its shop and tasting room on Chiltern Street has whiskies from around the world. Woodwind specialists Howarth of London, over the road, is also worth at least a look in the window.
Marylebone Lane is a treasure trove of shopping. The Button Queen sells only buttons, from cheap ones for your sweater to beautiful vintage. If you're interested in trimmings, check out V V Rouleaux haberdashery. The shop's exterior has been known to be bedecked in feathers.
The windows of delicatessen Paul Rothe & Son, also on Marylebone Lane, are piled high with jams and preserves, and they do a roaring lunchtime trade in sandwiches.
Fans of a brew should pop into Kusmi Tea on Marylebone High Street. It's the only dedicated UK outlet of this historically Russian tea company, and the shop sells its own blends and accessories for the perfect cup.
Parks and gardens
Baker Street has some lovely green spaces either side of it, even if we ignore Regent's Park to the north and Hyde Park to the south.
Paddington Street Gardens is a pretty space on (obviously) Paddington Street — the largest bit is to the south, but there's also a small patch to the north. It was opened in 1886 as a public park, but between 1731 and 1857 it was used as a burial ground. A stone in the park says that the ground is still consecrated, though the church is OK with people hanging out and having their lunch.
Frustratingly, much of the other green spaces are private gardens, much like that one in the film Notting Hill.
They have opened on previous Open Garden Squares weekends, so keep an eye out if you want to go into the gardens of Manchester, Portman, Bryanston and Montagu Squares. And while you're at the latter two, be sure to check out...
Stumble upon a village
It's often said that London is a series of villages, and nowhere does this feel more true than wandering down the narrow streets forming a ladder between Montagu Place and George Street. Central London bustle disappears and birdsong is audible as you stroll past the picturesque terraced houses.
Just remember that real people live here — as you'll gather from someone sitting on their doorstep making a phone call, or having a cuppa on their 'garden' bench. Sure, take a peek, but make it look like you're casually taking a short cut.
You may only be able to go into Manchester Square Gardens once a year, but the Wallace Collection is open all year and is free to enter. It's a stunning house with equally stunning 18th century paintings, furniture, porcelain and armour, and is also the home of The Laughing Cavalier. In fact, the place is so opulent it may stir republican tendencies as you wonder whether the French Revolutionaries had a point...
Go to church
There are three churches in the area worth checking out. One, St James's Roman Catholic Church on George Street, is a striking neo-Gothic edifice with flying buttresses outside and a beautiful arched nave inside; the entrance is a copy of the entrance to Lichfield Cathedral.
St Mary's, Bryanston Square (actually on Wyndham Place) is grade I listed with a semi-circular portico topped with a tower and a recently renovated interior. Further south, the Hinde Street Methodist Church has a classical frontage — a bit like a miniature British Museum, if the British Museum had a spire.
Oh, alright then
Fine. You twisted our arm. Yes, if you're in the vicinity of Baker Street there are two world famous attractions: the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussauds. Although you should know that we've already been to Madame Tussauds so you don't have to.