The World's 10 Most Beautiful Cricket Grounds

A small crowd at a cricket field in Dharamsala

Sugitas / Shutterstock

Despite only having a small (but growing) fan base in the United States, cricket is the world’s second most popular speculator sport after soccer. The 2019 World Cup will draw more than a billion viewers. Cricket still features four and five-day matches, but shorter variations have brought a new generation of fans and made the game easier to understand for first-time viewers.

Cricket is most popular in the Commonwealth, so countries like Australia, India, South Africa, and England have the largest stadiums, some of which saw their first action more than a century ago. The most iconic of these structures are known throughout the cricketing world.

Some venues, however, are as famous for the scenery outside their boundaries as they are for their grandstands and what has taken place on the playing surface over the years. Fans visiting these grounds can see mountains, ancient forts or castles, forests, oceans, and temples.

Here are 10 of the most beautiful cricket venues in the world.

1
of 10

HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala, India

Photo: thesenererebel/Wikimedia

The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium, which is only a few years old, sits at nearly 5,000 feet above sea level in the city of Dharamsala, India. It serves as the home of the Himachal Pradesh state club and has hosted matches for the hugely popular Indian Premier League as well as games featuring the Indian National Team. The Dhauladhar Mountains are visible in the background, and the stadium itself has architectural elements and design features that are unique to this part of the country.

The beauty of the surroundings comes at a price. Though the stadium has hosted high-profile events, it is not the most accessible venue. The nearest airport is only a few miles away, but the route to the ground is defined by hilly terrain and roadways that can fall victim to heavy rains and snow. However, average temps are above freezing during the winter and matches take place year-round.

2
of 10

Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

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Newlands cricket ground (currently called PPC Newlands for sponsorship reasons) is in Cape Town, South Africa, next to a rugby stadium that also bears the Newlands name. The venue is the home ground of a South African cricket franchise called the Cape Cobras, and it also hosts matches featuring the highly ranked South African national team. The ground has a long history that dates back to the 1880s, but it has changed quite a bit over the years and now seats 25,000 fans.

Newlands is distinguished from other cricketing venues by its backdrop, which features Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, two of Cape Town’s most recognizable geographic features. Though different pavilions and stands have sprung up over the years, some fans can still sit on grassy knolls that surround parts of the stadium. This is how spectators watched matches for much of the venue’s hundred-plus year history.

3
of 10

Darren Sammy Stadium (Beausejour Stadium), Saint Lucia

Photo: Timothy Barton/Wikimedia

Now known as Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in honor of Saint Lucia’s most famous cricketer, Beausejour Stadium opened in the early 2000s. Located near Gros Islet, it got its original name from the Beausejour Hills, which create a backdrop for the venue. The stands overlook Rodney Bay, which is popular among tourists. Fans based in Gros Islet travel to games on the scenic Castries-Gros Islet Highway.

The ground has hosted international matches involving the West Indies cricket team (players from all Caribbean nations play on a single team for international matches), and it is home to a regional team that represents the Windward Islands. The stadium hosts games during the annual Caribbean Premier League, a T20 (the shortest cricket format) cricket tournament known for the carnival-like atmosphere surrounding matches.

4
of 10

Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy, Sri Lanka

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Asgiriya Stadium is modest in size. It can hold about 10,000 spectators, and major matches in Kandy, a city in Sri Lanka’s hill country, are usually hosted at suburban Pallekele Stadium. Asgiriya, which belongs to Kandy's Trinity College, is more than a century old, but it wasn’t upgraded to host international matches until the 1980s. It is now home of the Kandy Cricket Club and also hosts field hockey.

Kandy is incredibly hilly, so the original builders had to flatten the ground at Asgiriya to create a playing surface. Because of this, the stadium is surrounded by hills.

Kandy's Buddhist Research Institute sits right outside the gates, so you may pass a mixture of monks and cricket fans on your way into a match here. ESPN CricInfo pointed to the hills, surrounding buildings and general peacefulness of the ground when calling Asgiriya one of the most beautiful cricket venues on Earth.

5
of 10

Queenstown Events Centre, New Zealand

Photo: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

Located in Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, this multi-use venue sits at the foot of a mountain range aptly named the Remarkables. It is also near the shore of Lake Wakatipu. The scenery is remarkable, but spectators also get an up-close look at the large commercial airliners that take off from Queenstown Airport, which is right next door.

New Zealand’s two most popular team sports, cricket and rugby union, take place at Davies Park within the event center, which also has indoor facilities, a water park and an athletic training center. Cricket teams representing Queenstown and its region, Otago, play at the park, and the stadium has hosted international matches involving New Zealand's national team (nicknamed the "Black Caps" for the color of their hats).

6
of 10

Adelaide Oval, Australia

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The Adelaide Oval sits in a parkland between the center of the city and North Adelaide. In addition to hosting major cricket events, the oval has Aussie rules football, rugby league and rugby union matches. Despite modern renovations, the green surroundings make this venue seem like a classic cricket ground.

In addition to the parklands, spectators have views of historic architecture of Saint Peter’s Cathedral behind the scoreboard. The scoreboard and some of the grandstands are listed on Adelaide’s historic register, though newer stands have been added over the years to increase the capacity.

The oval has hosted major matches, including a series of five-day test matches between Australia and England known as the Ashes. This is arguably the most intense rivalry in long-form cricket today. Unlike many cricket grounds, which have some asymmetry, Adelaide is a true oval, which means that the boundaries in any given direction are the same distance from the batsmen as they are in the opposite direction.

7
of 10

Riverside Ground, Durham, England

Photo: welivecricket.com/Flickr

The Riverside Ground is currently called the Emirates Riverside for sponsorship reasons. The venue has hosted international matches featuring England’s national cricket team, and it is currently the home of the Durham County Cricket Club. (England’s domestic professional cricket leagues are organized by county.) Though the ground has hosted matches since only the 1990s, it has a classic feel and is surrounded by parklands.

In addition to the green spaces, the defining feature of this Northern England venue is Lumley Castle. Fans and players can see the 14th century building from inside the grounds. In fact, the castle now has accommodations, and visiting cricket teams sometimes stay there when they come to play at the Riverside. The Riverside will be one of the venues to host matches during the 2019 World Cup.

8
of 10

Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand

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Basin Reserve, in Wellington, New Zealand, dates back to the 1860s when a wetland was flattened and drained with the help of local prison inmates after a major earthquake. The ground is now listed as a historic place. Usually called “the Basin” by locals, it hosted its first international test match, between New Zealand and England, way back in 1930.

The ground still has long knolls where spectators can sit on the grass and watch the games. These low hills create a natural barrier that partially blocks Wellington’s notorious winds (the New Zealand city is the windiest city on Earth with an average wind speed of 16 miles per hour). Both Mount Cook and Mount Victoria are visible from the ground as well.

9
of 10

Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Photo: Sanjiva Persad/Wikimedia

The Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad is the largest cricket stadium in the West Indies with a capacity of about 20,000. The oldest grandstand in the venue dates back to the late 19th century, and the stadium has hosted international matches and World Cup matches as well as acting as the home for Trinidad’s regional cricket teams and franchises.

Mountains outside Port of Spain are clearly visible from portions of the stadium. The walls outside the grounds have a different kind of scenery. They feature artworks by local artists in different mediums.

10
of 10

Galle international Stadium, Sri Lanka

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Galle International Stadium is in the city of Galle, Sri Lanka. The ground is situated between the Indian Ocean (on two sides) and a historic fortress that dates back to the 16th century. The stadium itself began its life as a racecourse in the 19th century. It has held numerous important international matches in recent decades, and Sri Lankans consider it one of the luckiest venues for their national cricket team.

The stadium was badly damaged by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The grounds were turned into a temporary encampment for tsunami survivors and a base for helicopter operations. The stadium reopened in 2007.

The venue is defined by the Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spectators have previously watched matches from the grounds of fort.