A hill in Marble Arch that cost £2m to build is offering refunds to unimpressed visitors after it opened to the public, not with a bang but a whimper.
The 25 metre ‘Marble Arch Mound’ was designed by Westminster City Council to create footfall in busy tourist areas of the city by providing great (?!) views of Oxford Street, Hyde Park and Mayfair.
Tickets to the temporary attraction range between £4.50 and £8. For this price, visitors can climb 130 stairs or take a lift to the ‘summit’. Once there, they can also enjoy food and drink sold by M&S Food and apparently there will also be light shows in the future.
It officially opened on Monday but people were left unimpressed by its charms.
Some pointed out that it looks like something from the Teletubbies:
The Marble Arch mound? The teletubbies did it better 😂 https://t.co/Dz8cuvUfMZ
One person, Dan Barker, visited it and noted that it did not look like it did in its marketing photos, that the trees that had grown blocked the views, that it was expensive and that hardly anyone had shown up making the fast-track ticket option seem a bit pointless.
“I think they oversold it a bit,” he said.
I went to the Marble Arch Mound today. It cost £2 million to build, and today was launch day, but it was still quit… https://t.co/preZJLt32V
And now, Westminster Council has said it will be refunding anyone who visited the hill in its opening week to give it “time to bed in and grow”.
In a statement, it said: “We are aware that elements of the Marble Arch Mound are not yet ready for visitors. We are working hard to resolve this over the next few days.
“The mound is a living building by design. We’ll continue to adapt and improve London’s newest outdoor attraction and resolve any teething problems as they emerge.
“We’re sorry for the delay and look forward to welcoming visitors when they’re ready to enjoy all the mound has to offer.”
Despite the naysayers, the mound does still have some fans. The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Jonathan Glanz, said: “I think it’s really exciting to see this coming out of the ground and giving a new aspect – literally – of views in this part of London.“I’d be very surprised if people didn’t come to take advantage of it because it really is unique. I’m really pleased to see Oxford Street bouncing back. We’re doing everything we can to encourage footfall.”
Kay Buxton, chief executive of Marble Arch London Business Improvement District, added: “Marble Arch Mound is a much-needed shot in the arm for the recovery of London’s hospitality sector, as we expect hundreds of thousands of visitors to come.“With international tourism still on hold, the sector is relying on domestic tourism to boost income.”
Those who wish to trudge up the mound can do so until January 2022.