Longleat Maze - History and Facts | History Hit

Longleat Maze

Lucy Davidson

11 Aug 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Longleat Maze

Longleat Maze is a hedge maze located in the grounds of Longleat House, a stately home in Wiltshire, England.

History of Longleat Maze

Built in 1978, Longleat’s hedge maze is the largest in the UK and was once the largest maze in the world, built from over 16,000 English yew trees. The maze was the idea of Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, who lived in Longleat House until his death in 2020.

An observation tower marks the maze’s centre point and the aim is to arrive at the tower, which is easier said than done thanks to numerous dead ends built into the yew paths. There are also six bridges, which offer great views of the grounds and also a vantage point for trying to plot your way around (or out of) the maze. Longleat House is an Elizabethan-era building, the current structure of which dates back to the 16th century, being officially completed in 1580. The house and grounds in their modern form were designed and built by John Thynne and Robert Smythson, and subsequently became the home of the Marquesses of Bath (Thynne’s descendants).

Longleat Maze today

In 1949, Longleat House became the first stately home to open to the public, and it continues to be a popular attraction today. Some visit for the historical background, others for the safari park housed in the grounds (the first drive-through safari park to open outside of Africa), some for the 900 acres of grounds attached to the house (envisaged by English landscape designer Capability Brown) and some for the various beautiful gardens on show. The maze is still an essential part of the Longleat experience for many visitors.

Getting to Longleat Maze

Longleat is located in Wiltshire, a county in southwest England. By car, it can be found from the A36 road between the cities of Bath and Salisbury. There is free parking in the grounds. Frome rail station is around five miles away from Longleat and Warminster station is around six miles away, although neither has public transport connections to Longleat, so it’s advised to pre-book a taxi.

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