Edinburgh Labyrinth (pictured)

George Square Gardens, University Of Edinburgh

Unlike a maze, there are no choices to be made in a labyrinth.

Here, you are never truly lost, the meandering route offering a single path to the centre. Long associated with ideas of wholeness, redemption and reflection, the use of labyrinths as a form of spiritual practise continues today whether as part of a religious tradition or as simple way to calm the restless ‘monkey mind’ so often a feature of modern life.

Some may walk in celebration of a life event, as an act of remembrance, to take stock of a particular issue with the help of a few minutes of solitude or as a shared experience with a friend or acquaintance.

Though there’s no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, the university have a labyrinth chaplain – a trained facilitator who oversees the outdoor labyrinth in the north-west corner of George Square Gardens and canvas labyrinths used for smaller events.

For info on related walks and events, email labyrinth@ed.ac.uk

Dunure Labyrinth

Dunure Castle, South Ayrshire

Dunure Labyrinth is close to the dramatic ruin of Dunure Castle, scene of a three-day visit from Mary, Queen of Scots in 1563 and of the notorious roasting of the unfortunate Allan Stewart, Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey, by Gilbert Kennedy, 4th Earl of Cassilis, seven years later, over a land dispute.

Today more peaceable folk take to walking the labyrinth, built by locals around a decade ago, while listening to the waves crashing on to the rocky Carrick coast.

Maggie’s Dundee

Ninewells Hospital, Dundee

Offering a programme of support to everyone affected by cancer, Maggie’s Dundee – the first new-build Maggie’s Centre – offers a labyrinth in its garden, designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd.

Her labyrinth, which is based on that at Chartres Cathedral in France, is intended as an allegory for life.

“It isn’t a maze, there are no dead ends, but you have to trust you will find a route through, even though often it feels like you are heading in completely the wrong direction,” Lennox-Boyd says.

Children’s Wood

North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow

The last remaining wild space in the west end of Glasgow is home to a very recent labyrinth, built just last year by local people using reclaimed cobbles from nearby Maryhill.

The labyrinth was originally the centrepiece of the National Theatre of Scotland’s site-specific interpretation of Naoki Higashida’s The Reason I Jump last May, alongside a temporary wooden maze structure.

When the play’s run was over, the maze was removed, leaving behind the permanent labyrinth to the community and visitors.

Falkland Palace

Falkland, Fife

The best-loved retreat of the Stuarts, Falkland Palace was particularly favoured by Mary, Queen of Scots, who was said to enjoy a game of tennis in what is now the oldest surviving real tennis court in the world.

Five years ago poet Ken Cockburn was asked to write a few lines of verse to be inscribed on a bench at the centre of a living willow labyrinth recently planted by head gardener Sonia Ferras Mana. Inspired by the idea of releasing burdens on the way to a labyrinth’s centre and returning to the outside world changed, Cockburn’s poem reads:

“Now your steps to here have led, sit within the woven shade

Just outside this pliant wall, crowstep clocktower steeple hill

In the future bear in mind, the twists of labyrinthine time.”