The world “mazerific” is thrown around a lot these days. But we’ve found eight mazes that really are superlative, either for their size, history or quirky features.
Check out our review below . . . and try not to get lost along the way.
Longleat Hedge Maze
The 16th-century Longleat House is a reasonably cool attraction in its own right. The mansion was originally built by the Black Canons of the Order of St Augustine (ie. the Augustinians) who were deeply religious and would surely not approve of the theme-park-esque atmosphere that permeates their property today. In addition to touring the house, visitors to Longleat can roam around the ground’s safari park and lose themselves in the Longleat hedge maze. The maze is probably the most fun of all those in this review—difficult enough to pose some challenge to puzzle experts and easy enough for everyone to find their way through . . . eventually.
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The Dole Plantation Pineapple Garden Maze
Many mazes claim to be the world’s largest but only one has been granted the titled by Guiness Book of World Records: The Dole Plantation Pineapple Garden Maze. (The other claimants to the world’s largest title aren’t necessarily lying; they probably have a temporary maze or qualify the type of maze in question). The Dole maze is 3.15 acres (12,746 sq. m) in total area and has nearly 2.5 miles (4 km) in walking paths. The Garden Maze, located on the island of Oahu, is carved out of a pineapple orchard and is thus surely world’s best smelling maze as well as the world’s largest.
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Château & Jardins de Villandry
We hesitated including Château & Jardins on this list because, unlike our other selections, the walls of this maze are short enough for more adults to see over. Still, wandering the sprawling maze hedgerows here is great fun. And what better backdrop can you have for a maze than a French 14th-century fortress that doubles as a World Heritage site? Villandry, in the department of Indre-et-Loire, is about a 90 minute combination train-taxi trip from Paris.
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Denton, Nebraska USA
Until we conducted our research for this post Spot Cool Stuff had no idea how many farms around America set up temporary mazes in the autumn. Nearly every state seems to have at least one and throughout the midwest and northeast farm mazes abound. Among them all the Denton maze stands out for its sheer size. The 2009 version of the Denton Maze is a massive 54.4 acres (0.2 sq km) with 14.9 miles (or 22.5 km or roughly a half marathon) of walking paths. This makes Denton around 10 times larger than the world’s largest permanent maze at the Dole Plantation (see above). To help you find your way through the maze there are 10 signs scattered throughout the maze with two-option multiple choice questions; get the question right and the corresponding arrow will lead you in the right direction, get it wrong and you’ll head towards maze futility. It is all cool enough that we’ll forgive Denton introducing corporate marketing (obvious from the photo below) to the world of mazes. The Denton Maze is typically open from sometime in September to sometime in November—see their website for details.
Ashcome has ten different themed gardens but their hedge maze is the coolest of them. The maze isn’t particularly large but Achcome runs all sorts of special maze events including mystery puzzles and hidden gnomes hunts—we appreciate a maze with a sense of humor. After solving the maze check out the Ashcombe Maze Cafe where you can eat next to huge windows overlooking the gardens.
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Davis Mega Maze
Sterling, Massachusetts USA
Like the Denton Maze (above) the Davis Mega Maze is one of these temporary mazes set up by a farm in the autumn. The Davis maze is the most kid-friendly on this list. In fact, you’ll feel out-of-place visiting the Davis farm without young ones in tow. The 2009 maze has a sort of Indiana Jones meets Medieval knights theme. Click here for a list of other mazes around New England.
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Castlewellan, Northern Ireland
The path towards Northern Ireland peace was very maze-like. So why not build an actual maze to artistically convey the process? That’s what one enterprising organization decided to do after the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accords. Their maze includes stepping stones (“to teach us to take one step at a time”) a rickety bridge (“to show the need to cross over and see another person’s point of view”) and a rock-strewn path (“the path to peace will not be easy”). Unlike most mazes, the goal of which is to find your way through, the objective of the Peace Maze is to get to the center and read the “peace bell.” It seemed a little anti-climactic to us to then have to turn around and retrace our steps. Still, we appreciate the maze-for-peace philosophy.
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Villa Pisani, Il Labirinto
Stra (Venice), Italy
If the winding streets of Venice aren’t maze like enough for you check out an actual maze that’s on the grounds of the Villa Pisani. The maze, created in the early 1700s, is supposedly the world’s most difficult to solve. Napoleon himself is apparently among those who were flummoxed by this maze. The grounds of the Villa Pisani also includes an art museum, a wonderful coffee shop and early 18th-century mansion.
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7 Amazing Circular Geological Oddities
The World’s 6 Best Bookstores
5 Amazing Towns on Perilous Cliff Sides
Rotating Dome Homes
The World’s Worst Travel Gear