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Monday, September 20, 2021

More a molehill: Visitors slam London’s new tourist ‘mound’

Designed by Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, the mound is a 25-meter (80-foot) hill made from turf-covered scaffolding that claims to offer panoramic views of Hyde Park, Oxford Street and the surrounding area

By: AP | London |
July 29, 2021 2:30:10 pm
Marble Arch Mound, Marble Arch Mound London, what is Marble Arch Mound,Visitors stand in the viewing area of the newly built "Marble Arch Mound" after it was opened to the public next to Marble Arch in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

London’s latest tourist attraction aimed for the heights. It has fallen a bit flat.

The Marble Arch Mound, an artificial hill beside one of the city’s busiest intersections, opened this week — and is already offering refunds to disappointed visitors and admitting “teething problems.”

Designed by Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, the mound is a 25-meter (80-foot) hill made from turf-covered scaffolding that claims to offer panoramic views of Hyde Park, Oxford Street and the surrounding area.

The hill’s website describes it as “a new and meaningful experience that captures the imagination of residents, businesses and visitors,” and local officials hope it will help draw people back to the commercial heart of London after more than a year of pandemic-related restrictions.

Visitors this week likened it to a construction site or a slag heap that bears little resemblance to the lush images on the website. A promised shop, cafe and exhibition space are unfinished.

Marble Arch Mound, Marble Arch Mound London, what is Marble Arch Mound, A general view of Marble Arch Mound having grass turf deployed in London, Britain. (REUTERS/Beresford Hodge)

Westminster Council, which is in charge of the mound, acknowledged that elements of it “are not yet ready for visitors.” The temporary attraction is due to remain until January. It said anyone who has booked to visit this week would be offered a refund and a free ticket for another visit “once it has had time to bed in and grow.”

“The mound is a living building by design,” the council said in a statement. “We’ll continue to adapt and improve London’s newest outdoor attraction and resolve any teething problems as they emerge.”

How to go: Tickets start at 4.50 pounds ($6.25) for adults.

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