Sophia Gardens is a sporting venue on the west bank of the River Taff in Cardiff, one mile north of Cardiff Arms Park and is named after Sophia Rawdon-Hastings. Daughter of the 1st Marquess of Hastings and wife to the 2nd Marquess of Bute, Sophia Rawdon-Hastings was concerned to provide open space for recreation in the rapidly expanding city in the late 1800s, in which her husband was heavily involved. The area is currently owned by Cardiff City Council.
Sophia Gardens is home to the Glamorgan County Cricket Club. The cricket club has played first-class cricket matches at the venue since 1966, after moving away from Cardiff Arms Park. A 125-year lease of the ground was acquired in 1995, after the previous leaseholders, Cardiff Athletic Club, moved to their new home at Leckwith.
Beside the cricket ground is the large sports hall complex of the Welsh Institute of Sport. Cardiff Corinthians FC have previously used the area for football.
Five one-day internationals have been hosted at Sophia Gardens since 1999, and is scheduled to hold its first Test match in The Ashes in 2009, subject to expansion of the stadium being completed. This project will cost �9.3m, with approximately half of the funding (�4.5m) being provided in the form of a council loan. The stadium must be completed by September 30 2008 if it is to host the Ashes Test in 2009. It is possible that the revamped stadium could host 7 Tests, 9 one day internationals and 2 world cup games up to 2028, injecting at least �50m into the local economy. In September 2006, chairman Paul Russell told BBC Sport that the county was actively considering selling naming rights to the ground, which it is hoped would bring in �210,000 per year.
In July 2007 Glamorgan cricketer, Mike Powell, was granted his wish to have a rib, removed during surgery, buried at the ground.
In November 2007, Glamorgan Cricket Club announced that the club has agreed with the leading Welsh produce company 'Really Welsh' (also a sponsor of Welsh Icons) that the new pavilion, now being constructed at the club's headquarters in Cardiff as part of the world's latest Test Match stadium, will be known as 'The Really Welsh Pavilion'.
Glamorgan Chairman, R. Paul Russell stated:
"When we embarked on the project to bring Test cricket to Wales, we gave a commitment to both the National Assembly and the City Council that the stadium would act as a showcase for the best of Wales. We are therefore delighted that the first sponsorship deal should be with one of the fastest growing companies in the produce sector which plays such a key part in the economy of Wales. 'Really Welsh' in a short time has established a reputation for excellence in a highly competitive market supplying top-class Welsh produce to the market leaders in food retailing in the U.K."