A day out to get lost!
Published: Thursday 19th Mar 2015
Written by: Ginnie James
This morning, out of the blue (or so it seemed to me not being able to read the mind of an inquisitive 4 year old), my daughter said plaintively “Mummy, I’ve never been to a maze. Can we go to one?” She was most disappointed when I explained that, certainly at this time of year, there weren’t any mazes near to us and it also got me wondering where we could go in Wales to find a maze that would possibly match my daughter’s notion of what a maze should be.
The idea of a maze is an ancient one that developed out of the use of labyrinths in many cultures for ceremonial purposes. It is thought that the strong association between mazes as a pastime and an integral staple in formal garden design came about in the middle ages and has endured ever since. When I started looking for mazes in Wales I must admit that I thought there would be more out there, not taking into consideration the more seasonal maize mazes and so on, but here are three that might fit the bill for me at least.
Conwy Valley Maze, located between Trefriw and Dolgarrog looks a truly magical place. Covering over two acres, the yew hedge maze currently holds the title of the ‘biggest garden maze in the world’ and with unique and specially commissioned sculptures to be discovered in hidden corners, and themed gardens including a rose garden and a butterfly garden to explore, it sounds just wonderful. On a practical note there is also lots of parking which appeals to me but this attraction is weather dependent and it is always wise to call first if undertaken a long trip to get there in case the maze is unable to open.
If you want somewhere where you can easily spend a whole day in the same place why not head to Bodelwyddan Castle. This family friendly heritage attraction has all the right ingredients for a great day out. Within the castle (only built as it stands today from 1830 but still impressive!) there are lots of hands-on activities for the kids, independent exhibitions and multimedia guides to take you on a tour of the house. The parklands outside feature formal gardens, with a maze of course, woodland walks and there is an adventure playground at Rabbit Wood for little ones.
For a non-traditional maze, I am tempted to try the ‘crocodile maze’ at Greenwood Forest Park. I mentioned this attraction in my Mother’s Day blog but it seems definitely worth mentioning again! As well as the wooden platforms of the crocodile maze to traverse there is an area for den building, tree-top towers to explore, a forest theatre, a tunnel warren and much more. As I have never been I can’t confirm it is as good as it sounds but with 4.5 stars out of 5 on TripAdvisor I would say it’s a good bet for a family day out in North Wales. Can anyone recommend any of these three destinations or even have any more suggestions to aid my quest to find the perfect maze? Do let me know!