Tickets for a 25-metre man-made mountain in the middle of one of London’s busiest tourist areas have gone on sale.
The Marble Arch Mound, created by Westminster City Council, will open up to members of the public from July 26 until January 2022.
Visitors will be able to see sweeping views of the capital’s Oxford Street, Hyde Park, Mayfair and Marylebone as part of a scheme to increase footfall in the shopping district as lockdown restrictions ease.
The viewpoint is designed by Dutch architect company MVRDV and people will be able to climb it via a single continuous route, which is around 130 stairs, while a lift will also be available to take visitors to the top and back down.
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.”
Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “We really hope the scheme will serve two purposes. First, to draw and encourage people back into the centre and Westminster. We know that footfall is still down by about 50% so we really need to show that it’s open for business.
“Second, I hope that when people climb up here and see these fabulous views, they’ll be able to see Oxford Street through fresh eyes.
“For people and families who can’t go away on holiday, what better way to have some fun in the summer than coming over to Westminster for a couple of days and kickstarting their trip with a visit up the mound?
“You’ll never get to see this view again. We’ve never been able to be up here and see all of this area.”
Kay Buxton, chief executive of Marble Arch London Business Improvement District, said: “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.”
According to Ms Buxton, “domestic day trips are expected to generate £44.6 billion in the UK this year, with domestic overnight tourism forecast to be worth £18 billion”.
The council has also worked with M&S Food, which will set up trucks to provide food and drinks from inside and outside the mound.
Tickets can be purchased via themarblearchmound.com. Prices start from £4.50 for adults. Family and resident discounts are also available.