Things to see and do in Nairn

East Beach, Nairn

west-beach-1Nairn is the ideal place to stay for touring the Highlands with places like the beautiful island of Skye and the fishing port of Ullapool to the west. An hour’s drive takes you to the fairy-tale castle of Dunrobin with stunning sea views and gardens.

Nairn has long been known as a seaside holiday resort having been popular since Victorian times. It has spectacular beaches that have achieved the highest European accolade for cleanliness – the blue flag.

Nairn Highland Games

Nairn Highland Games is one of the largest amateur gatherings in the North, the first Nairn Highland Games took place in 1867. A warm welcome awaits everybody, particularly visitors from overseas and the many expatriates who return year after year to attend the games!

Nairn Old Harbour

The old fishing harbour has been converted to a marina. From here , there are walks along the river and the beach gives you access to Culbin Forest. Dolphin boat trips from the harbour are also popular.

Walking and Climbing

The best climbing, walking in Scotland is easily accessed from Nairn. Mountain ranges such as Torridon, Glen Shiel, Glen Affric, Cairngorm and the Grampians are within a short drive and offer magificent photographic opportunities. Glenmore Lodge just outside Aviemore is the Scottish Centre of excellence providing courses for outdoor mountain sports.


Weekly ceilidhs offer a cultural insight into the Highlands’ musical heritage. They are informal dances with local musicians and a good time is had by all.

Golfing in and around Nairn

Nairn boasts two splendid golf courses, the Nairn Golf Club, which hosted the Walker Cup in 1999 and the Nairn Dunbar Golf Course. Both have stunning views over the Moray Firth, so even if the golf is poor, the views will be good!

Nairn Dunbar Golf Course – Situated on the shores of the Moray Firth, the Nairn Dunbar golf course, founded in 1899, is a highly rated Scottish links championship course representing a formidable challenge with its gorse- and whin-lined fairways. An outstanding clubhouse was officially opened in May 1998 by Sir Michael Bonallack OBE. Facilities include comfortable lounge bars, dining room, extensive locker room facilities with visitors room and showers.

Nairn Golf Club – This Traditional Scottish Golf Links Course was created on the shores of the Moray Firth from a Highland wilderness of whins and heather, and tests the talents of professional and amateur alike. Founded in 1887, it is now one of the best courses in Scotland, and hosted the 1999 Walker Cup.

Castle Stuart Golf Club – Castle Stuart links golf course opened in 2009 is now a firm favourite with top golfers in the world and has held the Scottish Open many times.

Brodie Castle

Brodie Castle is located 6 miles east of Nairn. Having been badly damaged by fire in 1645, the castle was later rebuilt.

There’s also a picnic area, tea room and gift shop, adventure playground with timber fort for the kids, woodland walks, gardens and a loch. If you have chance to visit during the Spring, the famous collection of daffodils will be in full bloom.

Fort George

Only seven miles from Nairn, this vast site is one of the most outstanding artillery fortifications in Europe. It was planned in 1747 as a base for George II’s army and was completed in 1769.

Since then it has served as a barracks. It is virtually unaltered and presents a complete view of the defensive system of an 18th-century artillery fort.

The fort includes reconstruction of barrack rooms in different periods and the Seafield Collection – a display of muskets and pikes.

Cafe: The cafe is open daily all week during the summer. In winter, it opens from 10.00am to 2.30pm, Monday to Saturday only.

Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle
Cawdor Castle (5 miles from Nairn) dates from the late 14th century and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around the legendary holly-tree.

Whisky Trail

Nairn is close to the “Whisky Trail” with famous names such as Glenfiddich, Macallan, Glenfarclas, and Cardhu. Visitors are welcome at many distilleries where tours are provided along with a “wee dram”.

Culloden Battlefield

The last battle on British soil was fought here and the much of the battlefield has been preserved. An award-winning visitor centre tells the story of the bloody fight in 1746 when the Jacobites raised an army to claim the throne for Bonnie Prince Charlie, but were brutally defeated. Mass graves are marked by clan headstones.

Cairngorm National Park

Cairngorm National Park is a short drive from Nairn of 17 miles to the boundary. The UK’s largest National Park offers masses of things to do including watersports, snowsports, wildlife watching and some incredible high and low level walking and cycling routes.