Sophia Gardens

First published 29th Mar, 2021

Sophia Gardens is a grade II listed parkland on Cadw’s register of historic parks and gardens. It is positioned to the south of the Sophia Gardens pay and display car park with vehicle access via Sophia Close, off Cathedral Rd.

A 4-6 week rest period will be blocked out of the availability calendar after events with significant infrastructure/ impact to allow the ground to recover.

The event space is next to residential and business premises, including a hotel, so applications for events will be assessed with potential disruption to these in mind.

The event space can be used for:

  • Charity walks / runs / bike rides
  • Private or corporate parties
  • Community events with limited / moderate infrastructure
  • Open air theatre events
  • Overflow car parking related to events in Bute Park or Cardiff Castle
LocationGoogle Map
Size4,000 sqm
DimensionsApprox.: 79m x 52m
Premises LicenceCovered by the Sophia Gardens Premises Licence
Hire FeeHire Fee
On-site power supplyYes – Subject to fair use policy
– 16 Amp Single phase 230 volts (x2)
– 32 Amp Single phase 230 volts (x2)
– 63 Amp 3 phase + neutral 400 volts
– 63 Amp Single phase 230 volts
2023 Test Certificate
On-site water supplyYes Subject to fair use policy, 1x location
There is a public toilet block within the Sophia Gardens car park. Note the public opening hours are limited. Not suitable for use by eventgoers
Phone/ISDN linesNone
Data ConnectionNone

Other Considerations

Ground make upThe ground is made up of a fibre-reinforced turf that has been designed to withstand rutting by vehicle tyres. The construction is quite shallow with hardcore below, so stakes cannot be driven in more than 0.5m, therefore water ballast anchorage may be necessary to support your structures.
Neighbours and noiseThe Sophia Gardens event area is adjacent to a hotel and residential accommodation.

Therefore you must consider the noise nuisance that may be caused by your event, including during build and breakdown. Out of courtesy, we would strongly advise you consult and communicate your plans in advance with adjacent properties.

The car park, coach park and access road are used for parking on major match days at Millennium Stadium, causing significant disruption to access to this site.
LightingThe car park is lit, but the event area is not. Additional lighting will be required for your event if it will operate in hours of darkness, or you have staff working on site in the hours of darkness.
FencingBeing located with an unlocked park in the city centre, security and/or perimeter fence will be required for the safety of your equipment, guests and staff.

Conflicts with other city centre events/venues

Before completing your event application, we would recommend that you as Event Organiser research key events in the city which may have an impact on your event.

Large city events could affect availability of and access to your preferred venue. Events in Cardiff Castle, Principality Stadium, Sophia Gardens Cardiff (Cricket Stadium) and Cardiff City FC will particularly affect Coopers Field and Sophia Gardens.

The Visit Cardiff website has a search facility which you can find out all indoor and outdoor events which are scheduled on a specific date.

If your event is likely to generate significant crowds, noise or disruption it would also be courteous for you to notify adjacent venue and local residents including the and newly developed offices and residences on Cathedral Rd.

Access to site

Pedestrian Access
The closest park entrances to this site are:
– Castle Street (to the south)
– Bute Park via Millennium Bridge over the River Taff (to the east)
– Sophia Close and ‘spine road’ (to the north and west)
Vehicle/Load RestrictionsA row of removable lockable bollards are located along the front (west) boundary to prevent unauthorised vehicle use of the event area and to allow entry/exit points to be switched to ease damage to grass. There are 4 empty ‘docking stations’ at the south end to receive the removed bollards for safe-keeping. Keys to remove the bollards are available from the Site Supervisor.

Please note, there is no access in or out by vehicles onto Castle Street / Cowbridge Road East through the bollards and gates to the south. This is for emergency use only.

NB. Events taking place in Principality or Sophia Gardens Cricket Stadium would have an impact on the Sophia Gardens car park, so any event looking to book this space would need to check event diaries for these stadia first.
Nearest Event Organiser and Visitor ParkingThe Sophia Gardens event area itself can accommodate up to 100 spaces. These are booked via the normal event
application methods.

The Sophia Gardens car park has 320 Pay & Display spaces in the main car park and along the Sophia Gardens ‘spine road’, which runs along the front (west) of the event area. Booking of these spaces is via Parking Services within Cardiff Council’s Traffic & Transportation Department.

There are 9 coach spaces adjacent to the main car park.
These are available for general use via the P&D ticket machines.

You must discuss and organise use of P&D spaces direct with the Parking Services team but please keep your contact within the Parks / Event Department informed of decisions, for their information.

Unless you are explicitly told otherwise, event organisers should assume sole responsibility for communicating with the Parking Services team on all matters affecting P&D parking spaces. The Event Manager and Site Supervisor assume no responsibility for communication or negotiation between the parties. This is done in order to keep roles and responsibilities and appropriate channels of communication clear.

Advice for risk assessment and CDM planning

  • The vicinity of the event area can be busy. It is used by pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. These may share paths and roads with the event audience and vehicles.
  • The event area is accessible by pedestrians at all times unless securely fenced.
  • Unauthorised parking may block vehicle access onto site. Access routes should be secured in advance to prevent delays.
  • Businesses and private residences share the vehicle access route to the event area.
  • The Sophia Gardens car park and P&D bays along the Sophia Gardens Spine Rd are taken over by Cardiff Council’s traffic stewards when the Millennium Stadium/Sophia Gardens Cricket Stadium are in event mode. Check Cardiff City Events Schedule for clashes with your dates of hire.
  • There is the potential for crime and anti-social behaviour as may be expected in any city-centre park.
  • The site itself is unlit and dark after sunset.
  • The site is close to businesses and private residences. Noise disturbance to these adjacent premises must be considered and planned for to prevent nuisance. Consider contacting residences on: Cathedral Road, Sophia Walk, Hamilton Street, Talbot Street, Coldstream Terrace,
  • Belgrave Court, Lower Cathedral Rd, West Lee, Green Street, Mark Street, The old Westgate Pub
  • In wet weather the ground can get very soft and water may stand on the surface of roads and grass.
  • Power and water are available on site. The Park Manager can grant access on request.
  • There are buried services in and around the Venue. Where known, these are identified on the event area base plan. However, the Venue accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this plan. The Principle Contractor is responsible for requesting up-to-date RASWA (Road and Street Works Act) searches and identifying the presence of services (e.g. CAT scanning) if he intends to break ground in or around the Venue. The Venue can obtain RASWA searches on request.
  • There are no existing welfare facilities on site.
All event guidance