The Witchery's indulgent owner, James Thomson, is Scotland's best-known restaurateur and hotelier, recently adding the national accolade of "Restaurateur of the Year" to his many other awards which include an OBE for services to hospitality and Scottish Tourism.
James created the Witchery by the Castle in 1979, starting the long-term rescue of Boswell's Court, a sixteenth century building at the heart of the Old Town that he loved.
Now in its fourth decade, the Witchery is probably Scotland’s best-known restaurant and restaurant-with-rooms, a favourite of both visitors to the city and its fiercely loyal local clientele. Over the years the Witchery has grown to include the elegant the Secret Garden restaurant and a collection of eight uniquely sumptuous and quirky luxury suites.
The Witchery by the Castle has been joined by a growing collection of distinctive hotel and restaurant properties including the city's first rooftop restaurant, the Tower, opulent Rhubarb and his startlingly decadent historic five red star hotel, Prestonfield. All share the Thomson hallmarks of magical experiences – created with passion and delivered with style!
James remains an active ambassador for Scottish tourism and is closely involved in a range of industry, educational and charitable organisations including The Prince's Trust in Scotland of which he is a Council Member raising over £250,000 so far from his annual Lunch with an Old Bag event. In 2005 he was recognised for services to hospitality and the Scottish tourism industry with an OBE.
The best restaurateur I know.
Clarissa Dickson Wright
The Witchery is a very personal passion for James. He is currently restoring another part of the historic building and he can be seen each day, adding many of the personal touches that make the Witchery so unique.
Opulent eccentricity... flamboyant decor, attention to detail and cossetting service create an environment of pure decadence.