Hospitality Sector Reacts To Lockdown Reopening

James Thomson Prestonfield house,Edinburgh.11.20.Photograph David Cheskin.

Two of Edinburgh’s leading hoteliers, restaurateurs and bar owners have given their reaction to reopening after 4 months in lockdown:


James Thomson, Prestonfield and Witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh

James Thomson, owner of Prestonfield and The Witchery by the Castle in Edinburgh, said:

“It is both a huge pleasure and relief to be reopening Prestonfield and The Witchery by the Castle today. We’re confident we will be able to offer a safe experience for guests with all of the indulgence and relaxation you would normally expect from a stay with us.

The support we’ve received so far has been overwhelming – we’ve had to bring back extra staff to cope with demand as bookings have skyrocketed.

“The entire team is so thrilled to be welcoming guests again soon. Everyone is ready to get back to doing what they do best; providing warm hospitality and excellent food and drink in the wonderful Scottish capital.”

James was born and bred in Edinburgh and has been a restauranteur and hotelier in the city for over 40 years. He’s also an active ambassador for Scottish tourism and his home city of Edinburgh as a world class visitor destination.

Today, Prestonfield has opened Edinburgh’s ultimate luxury outdoor dining space, including the Tea House in the garden for groups up to six people to enjoy lunch and afternoon tea, the first floor outdoor Tapestry Terrace (four tables of four), views of Arthur’s Seat, 20 acres of private gardens and parkland, as well as the resident peacocks who join guests outside for lunch, drinks and afternoon tea.

  • Prestonfield has all the feel of a remote Highland estate, but within a stone’s throw of Scotland’s vibrant and cultural capital city. Some people even refer to the Prestonfield estate as bei g located in Edinburgh’s answer to Central Park in New York, containing three lochs, a nature reserve and the Palace of Holyrood House.
  • Formerly the home of Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Prestonfield is famed for its five-star elegance, fine food and drink and truly unique style. It is hoped both locals and visitors will be enticed by the warm hospitality, unique dining experiences and luxury escapism that Prestonfield has become so well known for.
  • Opulence, theatre and luxury are combined at Prestonfield; a five-star hotel in one of the Scottish capital’s finest historic buildings. People may be interested to know that the original Prestonfield building was designed by Sir William Bruce, who was also the principal architect for the Palace of Holyrood House, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
  • Just five minutes from Edinburgh city centre, unique bedrooms, notable heritage and excellent food and drink await at Prestonfield, which is family and dog-friendly.
  • James Thomson also owns The Witchery by the Castle on Edinburgh’s Castlehill, which is one of Scotland’s most spectacularly atmospheric dining destinations. Now in its fifth decade, James Thomson bought The Witchery over 42 years ago and has transformed it into a much-loved Edinburgh institution, with nine extravagant suites, stunning décor and food and an award-winning wine list. The Witchery will reopen for lunch and dinner, from 12pm-8pm, as well as overnight stays from Monday 26th April.

Nic Wood (1)

 Nic Wood, Director, Signature Group

Nic Wood, Director of Signature Group, which owns and operates over 20 bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues around Scotland, including Edinburgh’s Cold Town House in the Grassmarket; McLarens on the Corner in Morningside and The Huxley on Rutland Street, said:

“It’s with a great sense of relief that we open 4 of our 21 bars and restaurants today, the 4 that have enough space outdoors to make the operation viable. From there another three open later this week. 

“I owe a debt of gratitude to my staff who have worked hard ensuring all the Covid safety measures are in place so our customers understand the continued Covid restrictions and are now delighted to see the doors opening and customers returning  in their droves. 

“The rebuilding of our sector begins now. We are so grateful to our customers who have booked with us to reunite with friends and family over a meal and some drinks, I too look forward to doing the same!”

Inspired by his own experiences of working in the Edinburgh bar scene, Nic Wood launched Signature Group in 2003 with its first-ever venue, the Grassmarket’s Black Bull. Now head-quartered in Edinburgh, Signature Group boasts a proud portfolio of over 20 bars, restaurants and hotels throughout Scotland.

In 2018, Signature also introduced its own microbrewery, Cold Town, in Edinburgh.

Each Signature venue is unique, taking inspiration from its surroundings and customers, with food and drink offerings sourced locally to showcase the best of Scottish produce.

Signature Group favours historic architecture and community involvement, aiming to provide positive growth and engagement with new each project. The company vision is to nurture a portfolio of destination venues for socialising and experiencing the best of Scottish, independent hospitality for locals and tourists alike. By investing wisely, growing sustainability and encouraging a sense of community and inclusiveness in the areas around its venues. Signature takes pride in building a reputation for great people, great products and, most importantly, consistently brilliant customer service.

For more information on Signature Group: https://signaturepubs.co.uk

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