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James Thomson OBE

Scotland's best-know hotelier-restaurateur

Prestonfield's owner is James Thomson OBE. James has won many awards for his visionary creation at Prestonfield, recently winning "Restaurant of the Year". Born in Edinburgh and educated at the historic George Heriot's school, his acquisition of Prestonfield in 2003 was a long-held dream... many years before, Prestonfield captivated his heart when he worked here as a waiter while studying at college. 

James's bold and lavish restoration reserved decades of decline, gaining a 5-star status and a swathe of accolades. His aspiration was to create a old alternative to bland uniform hotels. 18 years later, Prestonfield's theatrical baroque style has become iconic, much-talked about, and frequently imitated.

Alongside Prestonfield, his collection includes The Witchery by the Castle, the world-renowned restaurant-with-rooms, and the capital's first and finest rooftop restaurant, The Tower. Continuing the legacy of some past owners, James is an ambassador for Scottish tourism. He is involved with many industry, educational and charitable organisations. And in 2005 he received an OBE for services to hospitality and the Scottish Tourism Industry.

Prestonfield is a very personal passion for James. You may see him around, adding more of the personal touches that make his hotel so unique.

Links to articles

Prestonfield House: An Opulent Edinburgh Retreat - Andrew Harper
The Hot Scots Power 40: James Thomson, the Witchery by the Castle
A Hospitality Legend - James Thomson - Hotel Scotland
James Thomson's Edinburgh The Witchery - Vents Magazine
Flavour Profile Q&A - James Thomson OBE, owner of …
BBC News | Hoglets born in hotel reception
The Telegraph, The Witchery by the Castle

James also supports the following Charities:

  • Ex Old Town renewal committee responsible for regeneration of the Old Town in the 1980's including Castlehill
  • Ex Old and New Town development committee responsible for regeneration and opening of St Andrew Square to the public
  • Founding member and ex Chair, Edinburgh Restaurateurs Association
  • Old Town Business Association
  • Governor at George Heriot's School Trust for 16 Years
  • Heriot's Rugby Club sponsor and ex committee
  • Castlebrae School
  • Prestonfield Primary School
  • Liberton Secondary
  • Princes Trust Scotland committee member for 20 years
  • Creator of Lunch with an Old Bag, now in its 15th year raising over £6 million and changing lives of 6000 lives in Scotland.  Over £1 million raised to date from 'One pound on a bill' for Prince's Trust Scotland collected at The Witchery and Prestonfield
  • Sisters of Mercy, Sister Aelred, St Catherine's Convent, Edinburgh's Feeding the Homeless
  • Leuchie House, North Berwick Respite holidays for people severe autoimmune disease as MS, MND and stroke patients
  • Spartans Football Academy
  • Bill McLaren Foundation
  • Sportsman's Charity and Ex-trustee
  • Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity
  • Crohn's & Colitis UK
  • CHAS
  • Alzheimer Scotland
  • Founding trustee and supporter of Prostate Scotland
  • Ex-trustee of Springboard Charity
  • Sight Savers Charity
  • Redpath Albion AFC Youth Football team sponsorship
  • Hospitality Industry Trust and climbed Kilimanjaro to raise funds
  • One City Trust
  • Edinburgh College /Telford College, Annual James Thomson Award for Hospitality Customer Service Award for 22 years and student and lecturer placement programme
  • House of Lords Student Colleges Gold Award
  • St Columba's Outward Bound Centre, Staffin, Skye
  • Future Chef
  • UK Hospitality Scotland Committee formerly British Hospitality Association and BHRCA for over 40 years
  • Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

And many more!