Opening late last month, The Mound is a 25 metre high artificial hill located next to the Marble Arch monument.
Swiftly branded London’s ‘worst attraction,’ admission prices plummeted within days from the initial asking price of £8 per person, to £6.50, to £4 before giving up altogether and offering the trip up the green-clad heap of scaffolding for free.
Westminster council – who commissioned this daft idea – issued a statement apologising to the first paying visitors, saying that they were, “resolving teething problems as they emerge”.
They told the Evening Standard:
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.
In light of the delay, we are offering anybody who has booked a visit during the first week a return ticket free of charge so that they can enjoy the full experience and the landscape once it has had time to bed in and grow.
People who visited the mound today, and people who are booked for the rest of the week, including the weekend, will be contacted and offered a refund and a free return ticket so they can see the mound at its best
Facing a ton of criticism, Stuart Love, Westminster’s Chief Executive, posted up a statement shortly after The Mound opened:
We’re very sorry that the Marble Arch Mound wasn’t ready for visitors when it opened earlier this week.
London’s businesses and residents have suffered through the pandemic and we built the Mound as part of our bigger plan to get people back into the City and into the shops, restaurants, theatres and to see the amazing sights the West End has to offer.
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 apologise to everyone who hasn’t had a great experience on their visit.
With that in mind we’re going to make The Mound free for everyone to climb throughout August.
Now is the time to bring the buzz back to central London and to see people visiting the West End again. We are working hard to resolve the outstanding issues and create an attraction worthy of our fantastic city. It’s going to look great and be an amazing experience once we’ve got it ready!
Our ticketing operator SeeTickets will be in touch those who had already booked tickets for August to offer a refund and a free return visit.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors back so they can enjoy everything London has to offer and can make their mind up about the Mound.
Westminster were hoping that up to 1000 visitors a day would climb the 130 steps to the bleak viewing platform, but footfall was very light yesterday, despite the tickets being free.
Looking down you can see how the structure is a thin green layer balanced on top of a vast amount of metal tubes.
The viewing platform lacks any kind of charm.
The view from top is a bit disappointing, with tree tops obscuring nearby Hyde Park.
You can make out distant landmarks (if you have binoculars).
The Mound is covered in chicken wire.
Trees are located in their own silos.
The east facing wall is particularly unattractive.
The reality falls far short of what was promised in the CGI mock-up (below):
Deputy leader of Westminster council resigns as officials reveal total cost of Marble Arch mound hits £6mhttps://t.co/rkn0w1RQWt
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 13, 2021
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Free tickets are available throughout August 2021. Book them here.
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The Mound under construction
Here’s how the site looked in June 2021.