Scotland on Sunday Travel - For atmosphere and history you can’t beat The Witchery by the Castle, writes Janet Christie

A night in The Witchery will put it right up there among your favourite haunts.

The Turret sitting room at The Witchery.

For atmosphere and history you can’t beat The Witchery by the Castle. Named for the hundreds of women and men burned at the stake on Castlehill during the 16th and 17th centuries, James Thomson’s unique and beautiful five star boutique hotel and restaurant has been serving up hospitality for the past 42 years.

Renowned for its fine food and drink, The Witchery is also a feast for the senses and doesn’t hold back on treating guests to lavish and elegant interior treatments, steeped in authenticity. All about glamour and romance, it’s long been a favourite with celebrities visiting the capital.

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Covid precautions

The Witchery complies with all Government requirements, standards and regulations as well as adding a few of its own. For full details see the hotel website https://www.thewitchery.com/safety

Budget or boutique?

It’s boutique to the max, with current room starting rates at £450.

Room Service

The Guardroom bedroom.

There are nine suites, all different in terms of decor, all elegant and extravagant. Think four posters, oak panelling and roll top baths, golds and reds, velvets, silks and tartan, antiques and atmospheric mood lighting. From The Guardsroom with views across Old Town rooftops, romantic four-poster bedroom, dramatic separate sitting room, dining hall and oak-panelled bathroom with roll-top bath to The Inner Sanctum with dining area, separate sitting room and views of the Royal Mile or Heriot with a panelled sitting room and walk-in dressing room, each of the suites will leave you speechless - at The Witchery it’s the decor that does the talking. All suites have TV, Amazon Echo systems, adjustable mood-enhancing lighting, direct-dial telephone, safe, Dyson hairdryer, GHD hair straightener, Nespresso machine, fridge and safe. Rates are inclusive of a breakfast hamper for two served in the suite or cooked breakfasts served by candlelight in the original Witchery dining room, plus mineral water and cookies

Wining and Dining

With more stars and gold awards than you can fit in a Victorian slipper bath, The Witchery has earned its reputation as a dining destination. Serving from noon until 11.30pm (last reservation) there’s a choice of the 16th-century oak-panelled and candlelit Witchery dining room or the elegant Secret Garden room with its hand-painted ceiling and secluded terrace for dining or cocktails. An a la carte menu is served all day, while two course lunches and afternoon tea are also available. In The Witchery starters include Anster cheese sable, grilled asparagus and cheddar custard, mains Loin of Glenfeshie red deer, steamed spring cabbage, wild mushrooms and potato pave and the Witchery's legendary Angus beef steak tartare, and deserts include bitter chocolate tart, cinder toffee, burnt orange and blood orange sorbet, all complemented by the award-winning wine list.

Worth Getting Out of Bed For

The Secret Garden dining space, The Witchery.

A short walk from the Castle and down to Princes Street, the Witchery is ideally placed to explore the capital, from the Old Town’s cobbled wynds and closes to the elegant streets and shops of the New Town. Head to Leith to explore the eateries and bars, meander The Meadows, climb Arthur’s Seat and while away the hours in the galleries and museums.

Or go with the witch theme and take a tour with The Cadies and Witchery Tour guides, starting on the doorstep. These tours take a light-hearted yet informative look at the capital’s dark past and you can expect tales of mystery, murder, witchcraft and ghosts. Choose from The Ghosts and Gore Tour; a gentle, early evening walk from 7pm every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; or go for The Greyfriars Cemetery Tour to enjoy an afternoon stroll in Edinburgh’s most famous graveyard, every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. There’s also the Murder and Mystery Tour or book your own private experience, subject to availability. https://www.witcherytours.com

Little Extras

Guests booking direct with The Witchery will find a complimentary bottle of champagne in the suite on arrival.

The Witchery Lamb Wellington.

Guestbook Comments

A night in The Witchery will put it right up there among your favourite haunts.

Prices start from £450 per room per night.

The Witchery by the Castle, Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF, (www.thewitchery.com Facebook ‘The Witchery by the Castle’, Twitter @TheWitcheryEdin and Instagram @The.Witchery.

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The Witchery nestles at the top of the Royal Mile, next to the Castle.

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