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8 breathtaking garden mazes

Aug. 20, 2014, 9:22 a.m.
Hampton Court Hedge Maze

Photo: bobgjohnson/flickr

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Hampton Court Hedge Maze

The grand dame of Elizabethan hedge mazes, this popular, trapezoid-shaped feat of landscape architecture in Surrey, England, has been delighting and disorienting visitors since the late 1600s. It's the oldest surviving maze of its kind in the U.K.

The maze was designed by 17th century horticultural superstars George London and Henry Wise for King William III and Queen Mary II. The 1/3-acre maze with its 7-foot tall yew hedge walls marked a departure from popular garden maze design. It was created with a multicursal (multiple paths with numerous dead ends) instead of a unicursal (single path) configuration, making it a pioneer of puzzle mazes. The Hampton Court Hedge Maze is still one of the hottest outdoor attractions at Hampton Court Palace along with a plus-sized grapevine planted in 1769, the famed rose garden and a magnificently restored royal kitchen garden.