Five of the most amazing mazes according to a man who makes them

Adrian Fisher is a world-famous maze designer. The man behind the Saltburn maze tells us about some of his favourites.

‘There’s this wonderful sense of being part of an adventure,’ says maze designer Adrian Fisher. Since 1979, he has designed more than 700 full-size mazes across 36 countries in six continents. His first foray into maze making began when he was 20, creating a puzzle out of holly hedges in his father’s Dorset garden. From there, he has gone on to design mazes at Alnwick Castle, Blenheim Palace, Capel Manor, Longleat, for the National Trust and, most recently, the maze at ‘Saltburn Manor’ for the eponymous film. ‘From the time you can hardly toddle, you want to explore what’s out of sight,’ he adds. Below, he tells Deborah Nicholls-Lee about five of his favourites.

1. Scone Palace, Perthshire

Scone Palace maze in Perthshire.

Located in the grounds of the crowning place of Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and Charles II, Mr Fisher’s most eye-catching Scottish maze is a masterpiece of texture and colour. Alternating hedges of green and copper beech weave together to make a tartan garden in the shape of the heraldic Murray Star.

2. Beazer Gardens Maze, Somerset

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The central mosaic at the Beazer Garden maze in Bath. Credit: Nia Bell/Alamy Stock Photo

Despite its name, this paving-stone puzzle near Bath’s Pulteney Bridge is technically a labyrinth, as it is solved by following a single path. Created by Mr Fisher in 1984, in collaboration with Coate and Mr Burgess, the simple-looking puzzle is deceptively clever. Classical figures with connections to Bath’s heritage feature in an intricate marble mosaic comprising seven ‘gaze mazes’ to be solved by a keen eye.

3. Leeds Castle, Kent

Credit: Tony Watson/Alamy Stock Photo

Few mazes can match Leeds Castle’s dramatic exit, which rewards players with a trip through a twisty subterranean grotto, its shell-encrusted walls concealing fearsome sculptures. This yew maze was devised by Mr Fisher, Randoll Coate and Graham Burgess in 1987 and features a disorientating spiral construction in the shape of a crown—a nod to the many queens who have resided at the castle.

4. Kentwell Hall, Suffolk

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Across a moat, in the central courtyard of a splendid 16th-century property, is Mr Fisher and Coate’s award-winning labyrinth in the shape of a Tudor Rose, thought to be the world’s largest brick-pavement maze. The five-thorned rose proffers five different progressions through the puzzle. When you’ve solved these, brick paths indicating junctions and flyovers permit an additional brain teaser—this time in three dimensions.

5. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Credit: Olaf Otto Becker

An aerial view of the 1.8-acre, two-mile-long Marlborough Maze reveals eight letters spelling out Blenheim and a fanfare of cannons, banners and trumpets inspired by Grinling Gibbons’s stone sculptures, commissioned for the palace’s roof more than 300 years ago. From one of the bridges, you may also spot the V-sign that Mr Fisher and Coate included to commemorate Sir Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim and features on the £5 note beside a holograph of the maze.