SOPHIA GARDENS: GROUND & SPECTATOR GUIDE

Built: 1967

Situated within Sophia Gardens on the banks of the River Taff, the home of Glamorgan will host four World Cup fixtures this summer.

The stadium has hosted matches in the last two Champions Trophy tournaments - including Pakistan’s semi-final win over England in 2017 - as well as a single fixture during the 1999 World Cup.

HISTORY

1967 witnessed Glamorgan’s first ever fixture at Sophia Gardens, a match against an Indian touring side, but the venue formally became the club’s home in 1995 with a 125-year lease being signed.

In 1969 a packed-out stadium saw Glamorgan - led by Wilf Wooler -  win the County Championship for the second time in the club’s history, having previously been crowned champions in 1948.

The stadium became an international cricket venue in 1999 when it hosted a World Cup fixture between Steve Waugh’s Australia and Stephen Fleming’s New Zealand.

In 2009, the 15,000-seat venue became the 100th to host a Test match when England and Australia squared off in the first match of that summer’s Ashes series. The venue has gone on to host Test, ODI and T20I matches since.

The National Cricket Centre, which was completed in 1999, offers state of the art bowling machines, seven lanes, fielding machines and much more.

Sophia Gardens itself is named after Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings, daughter of 1st Marquess of Hastings and the wife to the 2nd Marquess of Bute.

Fans get up close to the action during a county game at Cardiff in 1999

FAMOUS MOMENT

If you could pick two humans to bat for your life, James Anderson and Monty Panesar probably wouldn’t be near the top of your list.

That said, in the opening Ashes Test of 2009, the pair absorbed a combined 88 balls in England’s second innings to defy the Aussies in the Welsh capital.

Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar walk off undefeated after defying Australia in Cardiff

HOW TO GET THERE

Address: Sophia Gardens, Sophia Walk, Cardiff CF11 9XR

By car: Travelling via automobile takes approximately three hours via the M4 westbound from London. Parking, however, is limited near the ground and would need to be pre-booked. It is recommended that drivers use the Park & Ride service or seek public car parks in the city centre.

By public transport: Trains from London Paddington to Cardiff Central take approximately two hours. Trains from Manchester take towards four hours while services from Bristol take just under an hour. 

Bus services run regularly between Cardiff Central Station and Cathedral Road. Route numbers 25, 62 and 63 all run via Cathedral Road.

GROUND RECORDS

Highest ODI score: England 342 for 8 vs Australia, June 2018

Lowest ODI score: Sri Lanka 138 all out vs New Zealand, June 2013

PLAYING CONDITIONS

Much maligned for always seeing its international cricket interrupted by rain, Sophia Gardens does indeed suffer from more precipitation than most major cricket venues in the UK. But the battle between bat and ball is usually quite even here.

WHERE TO EAT

The Pontcanna Inn

Decent bar food to soak up the booze (£5-15)

36 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9LL

Website


Secret Garden Cafe

Light bites in a quaint location (£5-15)

North Rd, Cardiff CF10 3ER

Website


Elgano

Authentic Italian cuisine created with fresh, local ingredients (pasta and pizza dishes ranging from £10 - £15)

58 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9LL

Website


The Potted Pig

Modern British food based around seasonal menus (three-course lunch - £17)

27 High Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PU

Website


Milkwood

An independent modern Welsh bistro (£30-50 per head)

83 Pontcanna St, Cardiff, CF11 9HS

Website

WHAT TO DO NEARBY

Cardiff Castle

Travel back in time and get to know the city’s history (£9-13) 

Cardiff Castle, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 3RB, Wales

Website


Principality Stadium tour

Take a tour of the home of Welsh rugby (£9-14)

Principality Stadium, Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1NS

Website


Pontcanna Fields, Bute Park and Sophia Gardens

Explore the grade 2 listed parkland that surrounds the stadium (free)

Bute Park, North Road, Cardiff CF10 3DX, Wales

Website

WHERE TO DRINK

Brewhouse and Kitchen

Modern-style bar/pub serving craft ales form their on-site microbrewery

Sophia Close, Cardiff, CF11 9HW

Website


The Cricketers

Welsh real ales offered in the setting of a classic Cardiff townhouse

66 Cathedral Rd, Cardiff CF11 9LL

Website


The Romilly

Classic pub with a decent garden out the back

247 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9PP

Website


Prince of Wales

Your classic no-nonsense Wetherspoons - housed in an old theatre

81–83 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1FA

Website


Tiny Rebel

Perhaps your hipster’s choice, plenty of quirky sounding beers

25 Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DD

Website

WHAT TO DO NEARBY

National Museum Cardiff

Experience world-class art and natural history (free)

Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

Website


Glamorgan Cricket Museum

Explore the history of Welsh cricket (free with match ticket)

Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, CF11 9XR

Website

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW...

In 1981 Sophia Gardens played host to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

VENUE GUIDES

TEAM GUIDES

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