Marble Arch : The History and the Sights

london marblearch

Marble Arch is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London – and for a good reason.

While the arch is a stunning combination of art and architecture – all with a classical, neo-Roman design – it also carries a fascinating backstory. What’s more, the triumphal arch has become so synonymous with the area that its immediate surroundings are colloquially known as ‘Marble Arch’.

We’re going to dive into the history behind this stunning London landmark and then show you a couple of sights – all within easy reaching distance of The Montcalm Marble Arch.

The History

It was back in the 1820’s that the idea of a triumphal arch for London first entered the planning stages. One of the most famous architects of the age – John Nash – delivered the design, but his full vision would never become a reality.

Nash envisioned an arch that would match those found in Rome and Paris, and it was seen as almost a necessity that a capital city carrying the size and wealth of London must have a grand statement piece. However, when King George IV died in 1830, work stopped. The new King – William IV – was shocked at the amount of money going into the arch and called a halt to proceedings.

It was only after some downgrading in the design in 1832 that work resumed, with Marble Arch finally completed in 1833. At this point, Marble Arch was the entrance to the newly refurbished and expanded Buckingham Palace. However, as work proceeded, the arch was moved to its current location beside Hyde Park to make more room for the expansion of the palace. You can reach Marble Arch within less than ten minutes from The Montcalm hotel in Marble Arch, and it’s a fascinating piece of London’s history that you won’t want to miss.

The Sights

Aside from the Marble Arch itself, the area around the site has some other famous London spots you’ll want to check out.

spa hotel

Only a stone’s throw away from Montcalm’s many spa breaks London, Oxford Street is the place to go if you want a classic London shopping experience. Running all the way from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Tube Station, Oxford Street is home to a vast number of shops – well-know and boutique – and it offers more retail therapy than most people can handle. And, while you’re on Oxford Street, it’s worth taking the time to visit the world-famous Selfridge’s. Covering multiple floors, Selfridge’s is one of the quintessential London shopping destinations.

National Gallery
National Gallery

Moreover, if you’re in the mood to take in some art, the renowned National Gallery is only a 15-minute journey from The Montcalm Marble Arch. The gallery has one of the deepest and richest collections of art in the world, covering everything from Italian masters of the Renaissance up to more recent pieces from the likes of Van Gogh. It’s a huge place and somewhere worth dedicating at least half a day to exploring.