Get to know Nairn
Famed for its beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets, Nairn is a bustling and picturesque seaside town on the Moray firth.
A short drive from Inverness Airport and the start of the North Coast 500 route, and with visitor attractions such as Culloden, Loch Ness and the Malt Whisky Trail on its doorstep, Nairn is the perfect base for exploring the Highlands and Moray.
Nairn is an ancient fishing port and market town about 17 miles east of Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands.
Located on the Moray Firth at the edge of the sand-floored Culbin Forest, Nairn is the 3rd largest settlement in the Highlands and is well-known as a seaside resort with two golf courses, award-winning beaches and arts/theatre venues.
The name of the town has a Gaelic origin – Inbhir Narann, being situated at the mouth of “the waters of Alders” (Gaelic: Uisge-Nearn), now known simply as Nairn.
It features many visitor attractions including the museum and Community Centre, but is also host to many shops, eateries, places to stay, and more.
Keep updated with events happening in Nairn with our Events Calendar.
People lived in and around Nairn long before the 4th century. Within a few miles of the town a number of cairns exist, dating from the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age. Many sites have suffered the ravages of time, but Clava Cairns, on the southern side of Culloden Moor, is a well-preserved example and well worth a visit. Nairn is also closely linked to the Battle of Culloden, the last land battle on mainland Britain. A trip to the visitor centre, 12 miles away, will give a fascinating insight into what happened to the Jacobites in 1745. The area’s three inhabited castles – Brodie, Cawdor and Kilravock – all fascinating in their individual ways and Brodie and Cawdor can be visited. Nairn Museum has a wealth of knowledge on the towns history.
Links with Fame
There are many notable famous names linked with Nairn.
Charlie Chaplin is known to have frequented Nairn for his holidays. His family would rent out the second floor of the Newton Hotel, (now known as the Muthu Newton)
They would take walks from the hotel down to the waterfront, along to the harbour, up the High Street and back to the hotel. It is said that Charlie found his visits to Nairn relaxing and a break from the stress of his work and career.
Mary, Queen of Scots, passed through briefly during her visit to the North to consolidate her support for her cause.
Nairn is approximately 6 miles from Cawdor Castle of Shakespeare’s Macbeth fame. Although in truth, Macbeth died 130 years before the title Thane of Cawdor was granted and 300 years before the first stone was laid at the castle.
Isobel Gowdie, the witch of Auldearn, is one of Scotland’s best known witches. Giving 4 confessions over 6 weeks, her detailed accounts have been documented and are still a talking point to this day. No one knows the truth behind her confessions but one theory is ergotism.