Head Over Heels Blue Badge Tours at Portman Marylebone
After a summer of discovering just why residents and visitors are Head over Heels for Portman Marylebone, it’s time to take to our heels for real and explore the area with a series of Saturday morning walks to usher in the autumn.
A cursory look at a map will show you that the area bounded by the Edgware and Marylebone Roads and Oxford and Baker Street has a rare elegance, with its grid of sweeping thoroughfares connected by pretty mews and charming side streets. It also happens to have a history reaching back to the 1530s and the reign of Henry VIII.
Throughout that time, just as now, it has drawn the famous, the fashion-forward and creative. Each walk will take us past the homes of two Beatles and a Seventies rock legend, an extraordinary art gallery whose works never leaves London and which has portraits of 18th and 19th-century It people, and the shadowy, glamorous world of London espionage. Not to mention the school that launched Amy, Rita and Dua, a café born out of a men’s magazine and a once-ignored roundabout now filled with art.
All the while we’ll be passing the homes and offices of contemporary artists, foodies and entrepreneurs – these streets may look traditional, with their stately blocks and white trimmings, but they are anything but. Portman Marylebone has always had a genuinely international vibe. It’s low-key, but it’s there: from the conversion of a late Victorian fire station into a hotel that dazzled the world, to the incredible range of food on offer, and from global designers to an eclectic art and publishing scene.
Imagine the energy and creativity of the East End transported to the nearest thing you can get to West End village – even more so as restaurants and cafes have spilled out onto the pretty side streets this summer – and dusted with the glamour of celebrity.
Come along and see for yourselves!
The ‘It People’: The Portman Marylebone Walks of Fame’, with Blue Badge Tourist Guide Sophie Campbell, will take place at 11am on Saturday September 5, 12 and 19. Pre-booking is essential and tickets cost £10, all of which goes to charity partner City Harvest.