What do you picture when you think of a hedge maze? Lovely ladies strolling through fastidiously trimmed hedgerows in the countryside? Or an extended panic attack?
Whatever you imagine, a journey through one of these giant interactive puzzles can be relaxing but also confusing. It depends on how you feel about dead-ends, wrong turns and the possibility that you might spend an afternoon utterly lost.
With the advent of computer-based landscape design and smartphones, hedge mazes have evolved since their heyday in Renaissance England. Back then, they were horticultural must-haves that served a dual purpose: looking pretty and providing a delightfully disorienting outdoor diversion. Although they still do both those things, modern hedge mazes now are bigger, badder and far more bewildering than their well-pruned 18th century predecessors.
We’ve rounded up eight exceptional mazes currently open to the public. All but one of our picks is a classic garden maze. Most of them, not surprisingly, are located in the ancestral home of the garden maze: England. For instance, the Glendurgan Maze is located in Durgan on the Helford River, a tiny hamlet in Cornwall.