Y’all, I gotta tell ya – I love London. It’s one of my most favorite “big” cities in the world, right up there with Sydney, New York and Chicago.
Joe and I have been to London at least a half dozen times and have made it our business to see lots of popular sites. The Tower of London. Tower Bridge. The British Museum. Piccadilly Circus. St. Paul’s Cathedral. The London Eye. Even The London Dungeon (3 times in 25 years. Don’t judge).
There’s one tourist attraction in London that’s opened since our last visit to the city. I just heard it’s closing now and, to be honest, I’m not the least bit disappointed that I missed it. Because frankly, it sounded just awful.
Marble Arch Mound (sometimes known as Marble Arch Hill) opened in the summer of 2021. Located right next to Marble Arch, it was an 82-foot artificial hill made out of scaffolding and covered with turf. There were 130 steps (or an elevator) to get to the top, which had a small viewing platform that could accommodate about 25 people at a time. Moderate views of central London could be seen. The hill also had a shop and cafe, as well as an exhibition called “Lightfield.”
The hill was built as a way to increase visitors to Oxford Street, a popular shopping area, after the COVID lockdowns ended. Planned costs for building and dismantling were forecast to be about £3.3 million ($4.48 million), but by the time it was all done, costs were closer to £6 million ($8.15 million)- and that’s WITH making the mound smaller than originally planned.
And the thing is, everybody hated it. It was ugly. It obliterated the view of one of London’s iconic landmarks, you name it.
The hill originally opened on July 26, 2021, with an entry fee between £4.50 ($6.11) and £8.00 ($10.86). It quickly closed after numerous complaints from visitors. It reopened, fee-free (and refunds offered to those who had already paid to see the attraction), in early August.
And people still hated it. Reviews from TripAdvisor:
- What a ghastly sight next to the iconic Marble Arch! What were they thinking? Does not fit in with the surrounding lawn at all? Horrible metal stairs and the poor dead plants? Really?(ChristineandThomas)
- The mound at Marble Arch is quite frankly a total mystery – what is it? Why is it there? Why on earth was so much money wasted on it? I cannot see how this will help London Post pandemic. It is a jumble of scaffolding with earth piled up against it. It’s not high enough for great views although tips of landmarks are visible above the trees. However the worst for me though was the requirement to complete a sheet with your contact details for no apparent reason. A ticket was not required and these sheets were lying around visible for all to see in blatant breach of data protection law!! I assume it’s free because the powers that be realise nobody would pay!! (greenbeavers)
- The views from this scaffold mound are nothing to write home about, you can see a lot of trees in Hyde Park but not a lot else although you can pick out the tops of some of London’s famous tall structures. They have not fitted out the interior space which was part of the original proposal. It might have pleased foreign tourists but there are none around at the moment! However, it was free to go up during August so can’t complain too much (would certainly not have paid to go up it).
Don’t miss the Banksy which is painted on a wall by the portaloos.
Allow about 15 minutes. (Nigel_958)
Marble Arch Mound (Hill, whatever) was built as a temporary structure and its last day was January 9th. It’s currently being dismantled.
Feature Photo: Rawpixel
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