A labyrinth is another word for a maze – you can see one in the picture above. If you’ve been to London, you might think that some of its neighbourhoods with narrow, winding streets are mazes themselves! But the city also has plenty of real labyrinths to enjoy.
The London Underground
You can find lots of mazes in the London Underground, thanks to a man called Mark Wallinger. Mark is a British contemporary artist born in 1959. He is most famous for his installation art which you can find all over London.
Now, it was the 150thanniversary of the London Underground back in 2013. For the occasion, Wallinger created metal pictures with different and tricky labyrinth patterns – in black, white, and red. They all have a round shape and there are 270 of them. Why so many? Well, there are exactly 270 tube stations in London, so he made one for each station. There are easier and harder ones, too, of course.
Wallinger decided to create the labyrinths to contribute something poetic to the Tube’s colourful history. Also, his idea is a gift to travellers. Imagine you woke up earlier and you had extra time, or maybe the Central Line just got delayed? Well, you will have an activity to kill the time while waiting – solving a maze!
Hampton Court Maze
Now, this maze is in the gardens of the beautiful and famous Hampton Court Palace, which is in London, about one hour away from Bloomsbury school!) Today, Hampton Court is a royal palace of Elizabeth II. It has several gardens, a large vineyard, a royal tennis court and a very popular maze. Back in the 17thcentury, King William III decided to plant two mazes, because he loved walking through his gardens with his beloved wife Mary II. We’re not talking about pictures this time; this is a real labyrinth, and a green one! It is made up of tall bushes and hedges. Today, only one of the two mazes is left, but it is proudly the oldest labyrinth in the UK.
An adult ticket to enter the maze is only £4.50, and for most people it takes more than 20 minutes to get out of the labyrinth. Sounds fun!
The United Kingdom has quite a lot of world-famous mazes, but in the past, there used to be even more. By the eighteenth century, there were hundreds of mazes around the UK. Then, many of them were destroyed, thanks to one man: Lancelot Brown.
Lancelot Brown was a gardener and landscape designer living in the 18thcentury, and most people called him “Capability” because he was so enthusiastic. All the time, he would tell clients that they could improve their gardens by making them look more natural and informal. He disliked mazes because he thought they were too formal – so he destroyed quite a lot of them. The only reason the Hampton Court Maze is still up is because Brown was strictly told not to get rid of it.