London’s Latest Tourist Attraction, the Marble Arch Mound, Closes Days After Opening

By Anna Breuer on 2 August 2021
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The Marble Arch monument in London

London officials had high hopes for the city’s latest tourist destination but their plans for the attraction seem to have all gone downhill.

The Marble Arch Mound, a temporary installation that opened this week, taking its name from one of the city’s most ironic landmarks, closed just days after opening, although officials said it would reopen.

“We’re very sorry that the Marble Arch Mound wasn’t ready for visitors when it opened earlier this week,” said Stuart Love, the chief executive of the City of Westminster.

“We wanted to open the Mound in time for the summer holidays and we did not want to disappoint people who had already booked tickets. We made a mistake and we apologize to everyone who hasn’t had a great experience on their visit.”

Located near Marble Arch, a 19th-century white marble-faced triumphal arch designed by John Nash in 1827 as the state entrance to the cour d’honneur of Buckingham Palace, the designs for the Mound depicted a lush, foliage-covered hill that rose over the nearby high streets.

The 82’ (25 m) high hill was made from turf-covered scaffolding and promised paying guests panoramic views of Hyde Park, Oxford Street, and Mayfair.

The Mound’s website describes it as “a new and meaningful experience that captures the imagination of residents, businesses and visitor,” but all it seemed to capture were complaints that it failed to meet expectations.

Built at the cost £2 million ($2.8 million) and designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, the plans originally called for the mound to be built over Marble Arch itself. When preservations broached concerns about damage to the 19th century landmark, the plan was changed but the resulting mound was smaller and steeper, which in turn made it more challenging to plant vegetation on its slopes.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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