Mazes have fascinated us for centuries, in fact the first ever recorded maze was built in Egypt in the 5th Century BC. Confusing, intricate, humorous, grand or simple, they’re still endlessly popular and visitors from all over the world continue to flock to these 8 amazing mazes
1. The Cactus Maze, Soekershof, South Africa
Dating back to 1910, this amazing maze is set in a series of fascinating gardens, all of which offer puzzles and challenges to the visitor. It’s a five-circuit labyrinth, made entirely of cacti. Even though there is little chance of getting lost, as the plants rarely rise above six inches above ground, most people take at least an hour to solve it, surrounded by these prickly plants which although they may not be the most beautiful, are certainly the most extraordinary.
2. Samso Lanyrinten
Samso Labyrinten, on the Danish island of Samso, is currently the world's largest maze, according to Guinness World Records. The maze is full of points of interest, including a mysterious Temple, a stone circle, a pyramid, and a tribute to Denmark’s most famous writer, Hans Christian Andersen. There is also a collection of sculptures and pieces of art located within this amazing maze, as well as a chance to test yourself as you go along with a variety of puzzles.
3. Longleat, England
Some visitors never make it to the middle of the amazing maze at Longleat, in Wiltshire, England. And that’s not surprising, as this is the world's longest hedge maze, made of 16,000 English yew plants. It’s a traditional maze, with over one-and-a-half miles of paths covering one-and-a -half acres of land, in the heart of the rolling English countryside. Set deep within it are six wooden bridges which let you see the centre, but just because you can see it, doesn’t mean you can find it!
4. Reignac –sur-Indre, France
Each year, a maze of corn or sunflowers emerges from the ground over the summer, and is then harvested in the autumn. Thanks to a well-proven technique of sowing and marking out, the following year it reappears in a different form. In the year it was launched, 85,000 people came to see this amazing maze and to try and find a way through its ten acres, but surely the key to it, is to visit more than once and see how it changes.
5. Ashcombe, Victoria, Australia
This isn’t just an amazing maze, it’s a collection of amazing mazes. They’re designed to do more than confuse and puzzle, they are meant to dazzle all the senses. There’s the traditional Hedge Maze, planted with more than 1000 cypress trees, sculpted into a series of real challenges. The Lavender Labyrinth flowers all-year round and offers spectacular views, and the circular Rose Maze features over 200 varieties, chosen for their colour and perfume. Find your way in and out again, or just stop and smell the roses.
6. The Peace Maze, Northern Ireland
This huge three-acre maze with its two miles of pathway and 6,000 yew trees was built in 2004 as part of a project inspired by the peace and reconciliation process in Northern Ireland. Over 4,000 schoolchildren submitted designs, and 1,000 people attended community planting days to create it, and the result is an amazing maze that truly reflects the connection between previously divided communities.
7. The Dole Pineapple Garden, Hawaii
Famous for its tropical fruit, you might expect Hawaii to produce an amazing maze to celebrate it. And here it is. Created in 2008, this pineapple-shaped maze stretches over three acres, and features 14,000 colourful Hawaiian plants. There are eight ‘secret’ stations which lead you closer to the heart of it, and on the way, you’ll experience all the plants and flowers the island has to offer. Solve the puzzle and be rewarded by having your name on a list of the fastest finishers, or spend longer and experience the bigger reward of seeing Hawaii at its best.
8. The Bamboo Labyrinth, Alnwick, Northumberland, England
This amazing maze is surely the spookiest. As its name suggests, it’s made from a new Chinese variety of bamboo, which sways and rustles as you brush past, adding to the atmosphere and distorting the garden’s other sights and sounds. It’s a one-way maze which is surprisingly difficult to solve, as the twisting paths run like streams through the bamboo plants, but once you’re in you can only go forwards, so you must solve it in order to get out!
If you’re planning to get lost in any one of the world’s most fascinating outdoor puzzles, here’s a tip: maze experts' navigation advice is to simply put one hand to the wall of the maze, and follow it, come what may. But then again, maybe they want to mislead us even further….
Are you raring to unravel these mysteries? Desperate to dive in? If you are mesmerised by these amazing mazes, let us know what you think!
Top Photo Credit: furdis