Sophia Gardens

This article is about the park in Cardiff. For the cricket stadium located there, see Sophia Gardens (cricket ground).
Sophia Gardens
Gerddi Sophia

Location within Cardiff

Type Public park
Location Cardiff, Wales
Coordinates 51°29′07″N 3°11′25″W / 51.4851639°N 3.19013889°W / 51.4851639; -3.19013889Coordinates: 51°29′07″N 3°11′25″W / 51.4851639°N 3.19013889°W / 51.4851639; -3.19013889
Area 44 acres (18 ha)
Created 1854 (1854)
Operated by Cardiff Council
Status Open year round
Website Pontcanna Fields and Sophia Gardens

Sophia Gardens is a large public park in Riverside, Cardiff, Wales, on the west bank of the River Taff. International test cricket matches and county cricket matches are held in the SSE SWALEC stadium, the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club.[1]

The park is located close to Cardiff city centre and is adjacent to Bute Park and Pontcanna Fields, forming part of the city's 'green lung'. Sophia Gardens is linked to Bute Park by the Millennium footbridge over the River Taff (1999). In addition to the Glamorgan County Cricket Ground, Sophia Gardens contains the Sport Wales National Centre, Y Mochyn Du public house, an exhibition area and a car and coach park.


The park is named after Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Hastings and wife to the 2nd Marquess of Bute. Lady Sophia was concerned to provide open space for recreation in the rapidly expanding town in the late 19th century, in which her husband was heavily involved. The gardens were laid out in 1854 on the site of Plasturton Farm by the architect Alexander Roos. They were opened to the public by Lady Sophia in 1858, to compensate for the closure of Cardiff Castle grounds.[2] The park was extended northwards by 28 acres in about 1879.[3] The park was acquired by Cardiff City Council, then the Cardiff Corporation, from the 5th Marquess of Bute in 1947.[4]

In the late 19th and early 20th century the Cardiff Horse Show was held in the park. In 1891 the park was home to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show during his tour of British provincial towns.[5][6]

Sophia Gardens Pavilion was built in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, and was used as a concert venue until it collapsed under heavy snowfall in 1982.[7][8]

Opening ball of the 2009 Ashes series


  1. Cardiff Council
  2. "Sophia Gardens". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  3. "Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Wales". Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  4. "Bute Park". Cardiff Castle. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. Western Mail, 14/9/1891, p.1
  6. "Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave - Golden, Colorado" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  7. "Sophia Gardens - Pavilion". Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  8. Misstear, Rachael. "Wales weather: Before St Jude Storm see some of the worst weather to hit country". WalesOnline. Media Wales. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
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