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Gaelic: Inbhir Narann
Nairn - - 185203.jpg
Grid reference: NH887563
Location: 57°35’0"N, 3°51’41"W
Population: 8,418  (2001)
Post town: Nairn
Postcode: IV12
Dialling code: 01667
Local Government
Council: Highland Council
Inverness, Nairn,
Badenoch and Strathspey

Nairn is a town and burgh on the coast of the Moray Firth in Nairnshire, of which it is the county town. It is an ancient fishing port and market town around 16 miles east of Inverness.

The town is now best known as a seaside resort, with two golf courses, a small theatre (called The Little Theatre[1]) and one small museum, providing information on the local area and incorporating the collection of the former Fishertown Museum.


King James VI, when he travelled to London upon becoming King of England, boasted that in his kingdom he had a town whose only street was so long that the people living at one end could not understand the language of those at the other. He was speaking of Nairn, formerly split into Gaelic and Scots-speaking communities. 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.

St Ninian's Church, Nairn

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 railway station in 1855, new houses and hotels were built in the elegant West End.


The town hosts the Nairn International Jazz Festival[2] each August, usually attracting some well-known and world class musicians, and the annual Nairn Book & Arts festival which takes place every year in June.

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 calendar.

Current developments

Nairn Town Hall

Neighbouring Inverness is now the fastest-growing city in Scotland, which has put pressure on Nairn in turn. Land to the east and south of the town is being considered for the further development of 1,400 houses, with additional plans submitted by Lord Cawdor to double the size of the town over the next 10-15 years through private investment.[3]