There are few landmarks in London as distinctive as Marble Arch – the triumphal structure which sits conspicuously at the cross-roads between Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road.
Lesser known perhaps, is that the expansive area is home to many more treasures than just the eponymous marbled arch. Stepping away from the clangorous streets and into the area’s myriad of sub-neighbourhoods, one can uncover a world brimming with art and culture, fashion finds and beauty havens… not to mention, cocktail bars a-plenty to whet your whistle and of course, hidden gems to satisfy your next foodie fix!
Gathered here, is an insider’s guide to Marble Arch revealing the best spots to visit and why…
For a spot of pampering
Nails, coffee and cocktails are in complete harmony at London Grace – the perky, Pinterest-friendly salon on Seymour Place (just off Edgware Road).
Sip on a flat white (freshly brewed in their shiny La Marzocco machine), a flute of fizz or Pimm’s, as you let the experts efficiently work their glossy magic on your hands and feet. The salon’s award-winning “top notch” pedi is rather revelatory, involving a dry approach that’s not only water-efficient, but preserves your nail polish for longer! Win win.
Situated right across the street from London Grace, Lemongrass Boutique Spa also deserves special mention as this fuss-free Thai parlour is the real deal when it comes to delivering stress-busting, holistic massages!
London Grace, 7 Seymour Place, London W1H 5BA
Lemongrass Boutique Spa, 8A Seymour Place, London W1H 7NB
For culture vultures
Other must-visits in Seymour Place include Thompson’s Gallery – a historic name with an approachable, contemporary edge. Their focus on Modern British 20th and 21st Century artists is well-suited for young collectors; while the newly-opened gallery courtyard is the area’s best kept secret… a hidden oasis brimming with exciting examples of British sculpture fashioned from bronze, resin, stone and other materials…
Thompson’s Gallery, 3 Seymour Place, London W1H 5AZ
The art trail extends further down to a quiet mews house off Bayswater, where husband and wife duo, Rob and Nick Carter showcase their mixed media collection of artworks.
Inspired by Dutch flower paintings from the Golden Age, their latest exhibition – Bloemen – is especially intriguing, spanning all manners of mediums from Cibachrome prints (made using a Camera Obscura) and acclaimed film works to large-scale collage tapestry. The result is fascinating, blurring the boundaries between the real and the imagined…
RN at 5A, 5A Bathurst Mews, London W2 2SD
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BLOEMEN, Dutch Flowers 💐 Now open at RNat5A, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm Rob and Nick Carter’s latest exhibition Bloemen features a collection of works created over the last six years based upon Dutch flower paintings from the Golden Age. The work on show spans many techniques, including Cibachrome prints made using a Camera Obscura, to the Carters’ recent film works and their large scale Dutch Golden Age Collage Tapestry.
For fashion fiends
Over in Marble Arch’ Connaught Village, Rock n’ Royal chic meets affordable luxury at Lucy Choi’s eponymous shoe label. Comfort, Craftsmanship and Character are the three C’s characteristic of the fashion-forward designs from the niece of Jimmy Choo, making this quirky boutique your one-stop shop for your next pair of party heels!
Lucy Choi, 18 Connaught Street, London W2 2AF
For happy hour
As for where to cool your heels come cocktail hour – Bernardi’s, the neighbourhood Italian on Seymour Place, is a friendly choice. Summer months call for Aperol o’ clock – braced with delicate plates of cicchetti – on their languid terrace; while oenophiles will also find much to their liking with an extensive yet accessible range of wines (sourced from both boutique and iconic Italian producers!).
Bernardi’s, 62 Seymour St, London W1H 5BN,
For cocktails with a dash of quirk
Then there’s Seymour’s Parlour at the boutique hotel, Zetter Townhouse.
This moodily-lit yet oh-so-inviting cocktail lounge is just as you’d expect of the private home of an eccentric uncle, filled with colourful and quirky memorabilia from his Grand European Tour! The tipples stand out too – the heady creations of mixologist Tony Conigliaro (often described as the Heston Blumenthal of the cocktail world). Royale Royale is always my drink of choice here… A delicate but sharp mix of champagne laced with a bespoke champagne liqueur, this really is extravagance at its finest!
Zetter Townhouse, 28-30 Seymour St, London W1H 7JB
For the ultimate comfort food
The line-up of foodie favourites in the area begins at Maroush Gardens. The original establishment of the now iconic chain, remains a stalwart for its cacophony of comfort-laden Lebanese dishes, each glowing with colours under the natural light shining through the restaurant’s spectacular dome skylight!
Maroush Gardens, 1 Connaught St, London W2 2BH
For bottomless brunch
Taking a cue from the izakayas of Japan (with a distinctly Aussie twist!), this laid-back tapas-style restaurant is always a good shout for weekend brunch when you can expect live music, happy chatter, an unlimited line-up of Japanese junk food (think tuna sashimi pizzas and an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet!), desserts galore and of course, bottomless bubbles!
Kurobuta, 17-20 Kendal St, London W2 2AW
For vegans/ vegetarians/ flexitarians
Having opened its doors over three decades ago, The Gate is now synonymous with vivaciously-vibrant vegetarian cuisine that would appeal to even the most hardened meat-eaters.
Their set lunch menu is a real steal, dishing up the likes of roasted sweet potato fries and a fiery shakshuka (vegans can swap poached eggs for tofu instead!) which you can blissfully sop up with chunks of crusty bread. Just be sure to save room for their intensely-rich vegan brownie, one of the best to be had by a long mile!
The Gate, 22-24 Seymour Place, London W1H 7NL
And Finally… For the love of avocados
( Because, Millennials.)
Last but not least. Avo-latos are officially a thing at Snowflake’s cheery ice cream parlour on Edgware Road. The entirely plant-based gelato is made with real hass avocados and set in the original shell with an edible nut butter stone! It’s as deliciously creamy as it sounds (as are all the other gelato-rich treats at Snowflake actually!), with a hint of lime adding a zingy touch!
Snowflake, 44 Edgware Rd, London W2 2EH
Discover more of Marble Arch here: http://marble-arch.london