Hampton Court Maze

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Hampton Court Maze
A diagram of the maze's layout showing a correct path to the centre
Hampton Court maze layout updated with recent openings[1]

Hampton Court Maze is a hedge maze at Hampton Court Palace and the oldest surviving hedge maze in Britain.[2]

Commissioned by King William III, the maze, which is about one-third of an acre, is planted in a trapezoid shape and was designed by George London and Henry Wise.[2] It was located in the "wilderness" part of the gardens of the palace, of which it is now the only surviving part.[3][4] Planted between 1689 and 1695, the maze is not particularly difficult,[3] taking about 20 minutes for a person to make their way to the middle.[2] It was originally planted in hornbeam, later replaced by yew.[2]

Psychologist Edmund Sanford took inspiration from the Hampton Court Maze in his idea to create mazes for laboratory rats to study learning.[5][6] The maze is referenced in some works of literature, including humorist Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (1889) and Carol Shields' Larry's Party (1997),[3] and is referenced in the Only Fools and Horses episode "Three Men, a Woman and a Baby".[7] It also serves as the inspiration for the maze at Mayer's Nest in Ian Martin's "Nightmare Nest" broadcast for the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in 1975.


  1. ^ Horváth, Jozef (2018). "Automatic Generation of Mazes and Underground Spaces" (PDF) (in Slovak). Bratislava: Comenius University in Bratislava (bachelor's thesis).
  2. ^ a b c d "Hampton Court Palace: The Maze". Historic Royal Palaces.
  3. ^ a b c Julie E. Bounford & Trevor Bounford, The Curious History of Mazes: 4,000 Years of Fascinating Twists and Turns with Over 100 Intriguing Puzzles to Solve (Wellfleet, 2018), p. 106.
  4. ^ RHS Garden Finder 2006-2007: More Than 1,000 Gardens to Visit and Enjoy (ed. Charles Quest-Ritson: Think, 2006).
  5. ^ C. James Goodwin, Research In Psychology: Methods and Design (Wiley: 2010), p. 110.
  6. ^ C. James Goodwin, A History of Modern Psychology (Wiley, 2015), p. 159.
  7. ^ Sullivan, Jim; Jones, Mike (30 September 2021). Lovely Jubbly: A Celebration of 40 Years of Only Fools and Horses. Random House. ISBN 9781473533073 – via Google Books.

Coordinates: 51°24′22″N 0°20′15″W / 51.4062°N 0.3376°W / 51.4062; -0.3376