Added to the historic grounds in 1975, the Longleat Hedge Maze is the largest of several mazes on the property. The maze is constructed of more than 16,000 English yews and is the longest (but not the largest ) hedge maze in the world, covering 1.48 acres, and 1.69 miles of pathway. It is a full scale maze, with several dead end and multiple paths punctuated by six raised bridges, all of which surrounds a central tower.
The maze is part of the 8000 acres that have been the home of the Marquesses of Bath since 1541. 900 of those acres were landscaped by the famous landscape designer Capability Brown, who also had a hand in the grounds of Alnwick Castle (now home to the Alnwick Poison Gardens ). The property includes a slew of unusual features, not least of which is the Safari Park of exotic animals that has been open to the public since 1966. Designed as the first drive-through safari park, where the over 500 wild animals could roam freely. According to the Safari Park web site: "Despite the understandable initial concerns of locals with regard to the introduction of lions to Wiltshire, the Safari Park concept has been a great success and Longleat’s ground-breaking innovation has been repeated at wildlife collections all over the world."
The land is currently owned by the 7th Marquess of Bath, Alexander Thynn, known primarily for his eccentric lifestyle, numerous mistresses, and the erotic murals he has painted all over the residential portion of the house. He is also a great lover of mazes, and has added the hedge maze, as well as three other smaller garden mazes: the Lunar labyrinth, the Sun Maze, King Arthur's maze, and the Love Labyrinth.
The historic house, gardens, hedge maze and safari park are open to visitors.