Edinburgh's Witchery by the Castle unveils public display of 500 Halloween pumpkins

The Witchery by the Castle is living up to its spooky-sounding name by unveiling a public display of 500 pumpkins to celebrate Halloween on Sunday.

Edinburgh's iconic five-star Witchery by the Castle is celebrating Halloween on Sunday by unveiling a public display of 500 pumpkins. Photograph David Cheskin.
Edinburgh's iconic five-star Witchery by the Castle is celebrating Halloween on Sunday by unveiling a public display of 500 pumpkins. Photograph David Cheskin.

The five-star boutique hotel and restaurant on Castlehill, located opposite Edinburgh Castle, has teamed up with Phantassie Farm in East Lothian to create the Halloween spectacle featuring hundreds of brightly coloured pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

October 31 is a double celebration for owner James Thomson, as he celebrates 43 years since opening the doors of Edinburgh’s Witchery by the Castle when he was just 20 years old.

Hide Ad

Thomson, said: “The Witchery by the Castle is the perfect setting for our magical Halloween display, right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Medieval Old Town, which we’re encouraging the public to come along and view for themselves.

“Housed in a collection of 16th-century buildings, The Witchery by the Castle has become a much-loved Edinburgh institution since I established it over 40 years ago.

“Our guests are drawn to the rich baroque surroundings of the original oak-panelled Witchery, as well as the elegant candle-lit elegant charm of the Secret Garden restaurant. Our nine theatrical suites are each lavishly decorated and offer a mix of romance, opulence and magic.

“Right on the doorstep of The Witchery, you’re spoilt for choice in terms of history and heritage, including Edinburgh Castle, Mary King’s Close, St Giles Cathedral and Gladstone’s Land on the Royal Mile. All of which have inspired what you see at The Witchery today.”

Hide Ad

“Halloween and local history enthusiasts alike may be interested to know the haunting story behind Edinburgh’s witch trial memorial, The Witches Well, which is located just opposite The Witchery at the top of Castlehill.

“A plaque attached to a drinking fountain opposite Edinburgh Castle and The Witchery remembers the hundreds persecuted for witchcraft centuries ago. More people were burned at the stake at Edinburgh’s Castlehill than anywhere else in Scotland.

Hide Ad

“It is estimated that more than 300 men and women were sentenced to be tried for wizardry and witchcraft either in Edinburgh’s Nor’ Loch itself or around its banks.”

The plaque situated beside the Witches Well reads: ‘This Fountain, designed by John Duncan, R.S.A. is near the site on which many witches were burned at the stake. The wicked head and serene head signify that some used their exceptional knowledge for evil purposes while others were misunderstood and wished their kind nothing but good. The serpent has the dual significance of evil and wisdom. The Foxglove spray further emphasises the dual purpose of many common objects’.

Hide Ad

The pumpkins were supplied by Phantassie Farm, which is situated just 25 miles from Edinburgh and grows fresh produce naturally with the season all year round.

During the winter months, the farm grows vibrant orange and celadon green pumpkins the colour of Chinese porcelain.

Hide Ad

The original growing area, a one acre walled garden, is a sheltered patch which has been in use for over 150 years. Gradually they’ve also cultivated another seven acres.

After the Halloween festivities, the pumpkins at The Witchery will be donated to local food charities.

Hide Ad

For more information about The Witchery by the Castle, visit www.thewitchery.com

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.