Nairn (/ˈnɛərn/ NAIRN; Gaelic: Inbhir Narann) is a town and former
burgh in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is an ancient
fishing port and market town around 16 miles (26 km) east of
Inverness. It is the traditional county town of the county of Nairn,
also known as Nairnshire.
The town is the second largest settlement in the Highlands of Scotland
with around 12,000 inhabitants - and the largest town: only the city
Inverness being larger.
Nairn is best known as a seaside resort,
with two golf courses, award-winning beaches, a community
centre/mid-scale arts venue (
Nairn Community & Arts Centre), a
small theatre (called The Little Theatre) and one small museum,
providing information on the local area and incorporating the
collection of the former Fishertown museum.
2 Parliamentary burgh
4 Current developments
8 Notable people
9 See also
11 External links
Seal of the
Burgh of Nairn, depicting
Saint Ninian (from a 1906 book)
King James VI of
Scotland visited the town in 1589 and is said to have
later remarked that the High Street was so long that the people at
either end spoke different languages, Scots and Gaelic. The landward
farmers generally spoke Scots and the fishing families at the harbour
end, Gaelic. Nairn, formerly split into Scottish Gaelic- and
Scots-speaking communities, was a town of two halves in other ways.
The narrow-streeted fishertown surrounds a harbour built by Thomas
Telford while Victorian villas stand in the 'West End'. It is believed
that the Duke of Cumberland stayed in
Nairn the night before the
battle of Culloden.
In 1645, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the battle of Auldearn
was fought near the town, between Royalists and Covenanters.
It was not until the 1860s that
Nairn became a respectable and popular
holiday town. Dr. John Grigor (a statue of whom is located at
Viewfield) was gifted a house in this coastal town and spent his
retirement there. He valued its warm climate and advised his wealthy
clients to holiday there. Following the opening of the
station in 1855, new houses and hotels were built in the elegant West
End. The station is on the
Inverness Line. Originally this
was the last stop on the line from London due to the inhospitable
terrain on what is now the main Dava branch line to Inverness.
Nairn has an expanse of sand beaches that were used extensively in
training exercises for the Normandy landings during World War 2. The
Nairn had landmines planted, during clearance
operations in 1945 by 11th Company, Bomb Disposal, Royal engineers.
High pressure water jetting was used to displace shingle on top of
mines to make clearance easier. Notably during this period two German
spies who had been dropped by U-boat in the Moray Firth were arrested
Nairn railway station
Nairn railway station attempting to board a train to Inverness.
The burgh of
Nairn was a parliamentary burgh, combined with the burghs
Fortrose and Forres, in the
constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United
Kingdom from 1708 to 1918. The constituency was abolished in 1918 and
Nairn components were merged into the then new
constituency of Moray and Nairn.
Like the rest of the British Isles,
Nairn experiences a maritime
climate with cool summers and mild winters. It is one of the driest
Scotland due to the rain shadowing effect of the
Climate data for Nairn, 23m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1951-1980
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Met Office
Source #2: ScotClim
Nairn Town Hall
The A96 from
Aberdeen currently passes through
itself. Fergus Ewing,
Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party MSP for
Nairn (and before 2011
Nairn and Lochaber), has been
canvassing for a
Nairn by-pass to be developed.
Scottish Government investment in the transport
infrastructure has focused on the
Nairn stretch of road,
especially to improve links to
Inverness Airport. However, there
are no current plans to build a
Nairn by-pass until after 2011. Land
to the east and south of the town is being considered for the further
development of 1400 houses, with additional plans submitted by Lord
Cawdor to double the size of the town over the next 10–15 years
through private investment.
Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise was formed in 2010 as a company
limited by guarantee to facilitate the regeneration of
Centre and its surrounding areas and membership is open to all
The Old Parish Church (St Ninian's) is on Academy Street in Nairn. It
is still in use as a Church of
Scotland church. St Columba's Episcopal
Church is on Queen Street; the church was built of sandstone with a
slate roof in 1857 and is still in use.
Nairn is known as a golfing destination, with two 18 hole Championship
golf courses. One of these, The
Golf Club was established in
1887. Its designers include Archie Simpson,
Old Tom Morris
Old Tom Morris and James
Braid. It has hosted many tournaments culminating in the 1999 Walker
Cup and was the venue for the 2012 Curtis Cup. The second is Nairn
The local football team is
Nairn County F.C., who play in the Highland
Football League. After a long lean spell of 31 years in 2006 they won
the North of
Scotland Cup 3-1 against local rivals
F.C. at Grant Street Park,
Inverness and they won again against Wick
Academy F.C. in 2012. The town has another football team,
Ninian F.C., who are members of the Scottish Junior Football
Association and are based at Showfield Park.
The town also hosts the
Nairn International Jazz Festival each
August, usually attracting some well-known and world class musicians.
In 2007 Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, who lives in Nairn,
created a film festival entitled "Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of
Dreams", which was held in the
Nairn Public Hall. It generated
worldwide press about the festival and Nairn.
Nairn is also the host for the annual
Nairn Book & Arts festival
which takes place every year in June at the
Nairn Community & Arts
Nairn is home to the Little Theatre, run by the
Nairn Drama Club,
which was established in 1946. Each year the club produces a number of
shows, of varying genres, with the annual Christmas panto being the
largest production of all. The Theatre began in dilapidated premises
but was rebuilt and reopened in 2004.
Nairn stages one of the biggest Highland games in the North. The first
event was held in 1867, and it is now one of the few where entry
remains free. The games are a major event in the local social
Charlie Chaplin, used to holiday every year in
Nairn and stayed at the
Margaret Fulton, food and cookery author, writer, journalist, author,
and commentator. She was the first of this genre of writers in
James Augustus Grant, who was the first European to discover the
outpouring of the
White Nile from Lake Victoria, together with Speke
was born at Househill, attended
Nairn Academy and died at
1892. There is a plaque to his memory in St Paul's Cathedral.
Frances Mary Hendry, author of children's historical fiction, resides
in Nairn, where many of her books are set.
Grenville Johnston, Lord Lieutenant of Moray, born here.
Tilda Swinton, British actress and her children have resided in Nairn
David St John Thomas, British author and publisher resided here prior
to his death in 2014.
William Whitelaw, the British deputy Prime Minister 1979–88, was
Nairn and has a street named after his family.
Nairn Town and County Hospital
^ "2011 Population of Main Highland Towns & Villages, Highland
Council". Archived from the original on 2014-02-09.
^ The Royal Automobile Club Guide & Handbook, 1978. London: RAC;
^ "Home". nairncc.co.uk.
Nairn Drama Club". nairndrama.org.uk.
^ Thomson, David (1998)
Nairn in Darkness and Light. Vintage.
^ "Caldecott 1961-90 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 2 Nov
Nairn extremes 1951-1980". weather.org.uk. Retrieved 2 Nov
^ "Parliamentary Questions & Answers".
^ "A96 Corridor Plan" (PDF).
^ Ross, Calum. – "A96 corridor may house extra 9000".- The Inverness
Courier. – 8 August 2006
Nairn Retrieved 19 April 2014.
^ "St Columba's Episcopal,
Nairn - Nairn, Highland - Places of Worship
Scotland - SCHR". www.scottishchurches.org.uk.
^ "Jazz Nairn". jazznairn.org.
^ "Ballerina Ballroom - Ballroom History". spanglefish.com.
^ "Ballerina Ballroom - Home". spanglefish.com.
^ McKenzie, Steven (14 July 2008). "The chronicles of Nairn-ia". BBC
News. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nairn.
"Nairn". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19 (11th ed.). 1911.
A Gurn from Nurn with views on politics, culture, upcoming events etc.
Portal offering a guide to visiting and living in the
Nairn River Community Council
Nairn Tourism and visitor