You may well have your favourite part of London, one that you return to again and again every time you’re in the capital. Brick Lane, maybe, the South Bank, the West End, or Soho, perhaps.

One place that might not have been on your radar – it certainly wasn’t on mine – was Marylebone. I knew it had a station, but that was about it. It turns out I’ve been missing a trick all these years.

Situated in the heart of central London, but almost hidden away from the hustle and bustle, welcome to Marylebone Village – as the neighbourhood has been branded by property management company The Howard de Walden Estate. An oasis of calm, tranquility and style, just a short distance from the hotspots of Oxford Street and Bond Street, it’s a bit like walking on to the set of a real-life Richard Curtis film.

There is a proper village feel to the area – albeit one with plenty of wealth flowing through it. Like the best villages, it’s got its own cricket club (you might have heard of the MCC – they’re based at Lord’s, the home of the sport, but you’d be hard-pressed to get a game for them on a Saturday afternoon); a Sunday farmers’ market (although the first one I’ve ever encountered with a caviar stall); charity shops with more designer labels than the average boutique; and lots of vibrant, interesting shops.

Such as the atmospheric Daunt Books on High Street, an original Edwardian bookshop with skylights and long oak galleries which was buzzing with customers on the Saturday afternoon when we popped in. It wouldn’t have surprised me one little bit if Hugh Grant had turned out to be the manager, wandering along the aisles after a romantic encounter with Julia Roberts.

There’s the Saturday Cabbages & Frocks Market, selling fashion, vintage clothes, jewellery and specialist food items, situated opposite Conran on Marylebone High Street, which is itself full of gadgets and knick-knacks of almost unimaginable style and quirkiness.

If it’s food shops you want, you’re in luck. The Ginger Pig, on the foodie destination of Moxon Street, is not the place for anyone contemplating Veganuary, but is a must for anyone who enjoys the delights of a proper, high-quality butcher’s shop. And it has the most delicious-looking homemade sausage rolls and Scotch eggs if you’re feeling peckish.

Next door is La Fromagerie, an award-winning delicatessen specialising – not surprisingly – in cheese. In fact, they have an awe-inspiring selection of everyone’s favourite dairy product, the sort of stuff that would create the cheeseboard of the gods. It’s beautifully laid out, with sweet and savoury items that will have you salivating uncontrollably, and there’s a cafe too (more of which later).

If you’re craving something sweet, Rococo Chocolates – also on Moxon Street – is another must-visit destination. Serving the richest, thickest hot chocolate imaginable in the winter, and ice cream in the summer, it’s home to the most incredible range of chocolates this side of Willy Wonka’s imagination. They look amazing and taste even better.

In fact, good food and drink is not difficult to find in Marylebone. It boasts an impressive array of eateries and bars, from the formal to the casual, and we ate like kings during our weekend stay. We had the best kipper I’ve ever tasted, plus scrumptious eggs Benedict for breakfast at La Fromagerie; lunch at old-fashioned Italian family restaurant Caldesi (which also runs a cookery school), was superb – from a menu full of Tuscan classics, my wife’s pappardelle al ragu and my liver with mashed potato and sage butter were lip-smackingly good. Just like Nonna used to make, I’m sure.

Cafe Momo, in Marylebone High Street, is the perfect spot for a leisurely drink and some people-watching, but my favourite – by a whisker – was brunch at Delamina.

Innovative and healthy Middle Eastern-inspired food was bursting with flavour. My wife’s shakshuka eggs, softly poached in a rich tomato sauce and topped with chorizo, was perfect comfort food, while my honey and urfa marinated tuna and quinoa with drizzles of avocado and tamarind was the tastiest thing I’ve eaten in a long time. And our light yet unctuous dessert of vanilla cheesecake cream on crispy kadayif strands with caramelised pecans was simply sensational.

Our base for the stay was a luxury suite at The Marylebone, an elegant, friendly and classy hotel – much like the area, in fact.

The room was faultless – huge yet welcoming, and with the wow factor in abundance. It even had its own Christmas tree, as Twelfth Night was still a couple of days away.

The staff couldn’t have been more accommodating, and its restaurant, Brasserie 108, provided us with yet more delicious morsels, including a fantastic piece of hake and one of the best steak tartares I’ve ever had. The resident DJ might be a bit loud for some (including us), but thankfully there were quieter corners where we could eat in relative peace.

Marylebone is perfectly situated for many of the attractions you might want to experience in the capital – we managed to take in the Lucian Freud self-portraits at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly and the Taylor Wessing exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Charing Cross, both just a walk away from our base.

Walking through London, when you’re not in any particular rush, is one of the great pleasures of life. And if anyone asks me what my favourite part of London to walk through is, chances are I’ll say Marylebone.

The Marylebone hotel, 47 Welbeck Street, London W1G 8DN 0207 486 6600 Rooms from £306 per room, per night, suites from £486

Caldesi, 118 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2QF 020 7487 0753

Delamina, 56-58 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2NX 020 3026 6810

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