4 Best Sights in Marylebone, London

The Wallace Collection

Marylebone Fodor's choice
Gallery, Wallace Collection, Marylebone, London, England.
© Zach Nelson / Fodors Travel

With its Great Gallery stunningly refurbished, there's even more reason to visit this exquisite gem of an art gallery—although housing one of the world's finest assemblies of old master paintings is reason enough. This glorious collection and the 18th-century mansion in which it's located were bequeathed to the nation by Lady Julie-Amélie-Charlotte Wallace, the widow of Sir Richard Wallace (1818–90). Wallace's father, the 4th Marquess of Hertford, took a house in Paris after the French Revolution and set about snapping up paintings by what were then dangerously unpopular artists.

Frans Hals's The Laughing Cavalier is probably the most famous painting here, or perhaps Jean-Honoré Fragonard's The Swing. The full list of painters in the collection reads like a "who's who" of classical European art—from Rubens, Rembrandt, and van Dyck to Canaletto, Titian, and Velázquez. English works include paintings by Gainsborough and Turner. There are also fine collections of furniture, porcelain, Renaissance gold, and majolica (15th- and 16th-century Italian tin-glazed pottery). With craft activities, hands-on sessions, and the "Little Draw" drawing workshops, as well as the chance to try on a suit of armor in the "Arms and Armour" collection, there's plenty to keep kids occupied, too.

The conditions of the bequest mean that no part of the collection can leave the building; this is the only place in the world you'll ever be able to see these works.

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Lisson Gallery

Marylebone

Owner Nicholas Logsdail represents about 50 blue-chip artists, including the minimalist Sol LeWitt and performance artist Marina Abramović, at one of the most respected art galleries in London. The gallery is most associated with New Object sculptors like Anish Kapoor and Richard Deacon, many of whom have won the Turner Prize. There's another branch down the road at 27 Bell Street.

Madame Tussauds

Regent's Park

One of London's busiest tourist attractions, this is nothing less than the world's most famous exhibition of lifelike waxwork models of celebrities. Madame T. learned her craft while making death masks of French Revolution victims, and in 1835 she set up her first show of the famous ones near this spot. While top billing once went to the murderers and ghouls in the Chamber of Horrors, that era has passed and it's the limited exhibitions that feature characters from the Star Wars universe and Marvel movies that now steal the show. Beat the crowds by booking timed-entry tickets in advance. You can also buy nondated, "priority access" tickets via the website (at a premium).

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Sherlock Holmes Museum

Marylebone

Outside Baker Street Station, by the Marylebone Road exit, is a 9-foot-high bronze statue of Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated detective, who "lived" around the corner at number 221B Baker Street—now a museum to all things Sherlock. Inside, Mrs. Hudson, Holmes's housekeeper, guides you into a series of Victorian rooms where the great man lived, worked, and played the violin. It's all carried off with such genuine enthusiasm and attention to detail that you could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Holmes actually did exist.

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