Nairn is the perfect place in Scotland to see and explore the Scottish Highlands during your next visit to this beautiful country. Scotland is often slated for its rainy weather; however, this attractive town is one of the driest and sunniest places in the country! This guide looks at the top things to do in Nairn the next time you visit!
This small seaside town is on the Moray Firth and is close to many famous Scottish landmarks, including Inverness, Cawdor Castle, Brodie Castle, and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. The harbour town is a royal burgh in the Highland region of Scotland, a title that it has held since the 9th-century!
There are many incredible attractions in the parliamentary burgh Nairn and many accommodations available, including hotels, private houses, self-catering, and more!
Nairn is also a popular stop-off for tourists travelling on the North Coast 500, and its plethora of activities and attractions make it a great place to stop by for a few days when making your way ’round the North Coast 500.
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Things to do in Nairn
There are many things to do in Nairn. It’s an excellent burgh for family breaks and romantic getaways. You can enjoy long walks on the beautiful Nairn Beach, sightseeing incredible castles and churches, and dolphin spotting in the famous Moray Firth.
Many choose to visit Nairn during the spring and summer months due to some of the unique events that happen here during this season, including the Nairn Agricultural Show, Nairn Academy, and the Nairn Highland Games.
There’s so much to do in Nairn that it’s often challenging to ensure you’re hitting all the highlights this Gaelic town offers. Read on to discover our favourite things to do in Nairn.
Golfing at Nairn Golf Club
When visiting Nairn, you need to try out their splendid golf courses. The town has three magnificent golf clubs, making it a popular holiday destination for those that love the sport.
There’s nothing better than spending a few days touring through Nairn’s golf clubs. Choose between championship golf courses such as Nairn Golf Club, Nairn Dunbar Golf Club, and Castle Stuart.
Tee off while on you’re holiday in Nairn; there’s no better place to play the game than a course at one of these great clubs.
This romantic Highland castle, located about 5 miles southwest of Nairn, once housed the Cawdors for over 600 years! This tourist attraction in Nairn has been rated five stars by the Scottish Tourist Board and offers jaw-dropping sights.
The castle was the 14th century home of the Thanes of Cawdor, however, it is most famous for its Shakespearian connections. The 11th-century tale of Macbeth happened here long before the castle, and many choose to visit here because of the links.
Immerse yourself in this prolific historic destination and spend some time at their cafe and restaurant, or even stay a few nights at their stellar accommodations.
There are excellent options for fishing on the River Nairn. This river is a productive salmon and sea trout area, so you’re sure to have an eventful day of flyfishing with the local highlanders.
According to the local anglers, the best fishing month is in July, with August and September being the last two months of the Nairn fishing season.
You will likely catch sea trout and salmon during these months, a tasty pair of fish that you can enjoy while in the highlands of the River Nairn!
Culbin Forest is simply magical; It stretches for more than 8.5-miles along Nairn’s coastline towards the town of Forres and is home to spectacular landscapes and views of the Moray Firth.
Tourists mainly come to enjoy nature walks. There are lots to discover, with a particular abundance of bird species in the woodlands that make for a wonderfully lively atmosphere.
Get your own bird’s eye view from Hill 99, an outpost that offers a look of the Highland County that you’ll get nowhere else!
A great day out for the kids (over 8) and adults, Bowhunter archery offers 3D targets, combat dodge archery, field archery and even archery courses. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to fire a bow and arrow?
Compete in some of the most addictive and adrenaline-pumping team games with helpful instructors who kill make sure you’re at least attempting to shoot straight! Check out their website for more information.
Why not pick up a new skill while on holiday and look like a badass while you’re at it the next time you visit Nairn.
The Clava Cairns
The Clava Cairns are a collection of Bronze Age cairns and standing stones. They’re undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most evocative attractions and go back about 4000 years old, making this one of the oldest sites in Scotland.
If you are an Outlander fan, these cairns are supposedly the inspiration behind the Craigh na Dun standing stones used to send Claire back in time and make this one of the must-see attractions for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the series.
Pheonix Sea Adventures
Exploring the coast around Nairn Harbour is an excellent day out. The area has an abundance of wildlife, with dolphins, seals and a whole host of seabirds on the agenda.
This cruise may be your only opportunity to see the two dolphin colonies that make their home a few miles out from Nairn Harbour.
There are 2 hours, 1 hour, and private cruises available from the harbour in Nairn, so check out their website for more information on when you can book a trip!
The gorgeous beaches of Nairn are some of its best attractions, with Nairn Beach being one of the most popular destinations. The weather in Nairn is usually much better than in other parts of Scotland, so a sunny day out on these beaches with your children is time well spent!
The white sands and stunning blue water of the beaches near Nairn are undoubtedly worth visiting, especially at sunset when the skies are painted gorgeous shades of pink, red, and orange before becoming night.
You’d be doing yourself a disservice not setting aside half a day to enjoy Nairn Beach’s tranquillity while in town.
Tucked within a sublime country house is the Nairn Museum, complete with a vast collection of artefacts, archives, and an insight into the lives of the people of Nairn long ago. Turn back a page of history and discover the rich stories of Nairn’s past.
It’s also the perfect location to bring children. It has a collection of pick-up-and-touch exhibits that will involve your youngster while learning about this national site.
Volunteers entirely run the Museum, an incredible feat considering the size and scope of the collection, so feel free to make a donation to fund the continued opening of this proud site in Nairn.
William Major William Caulfield built this staggering monument in 1755 and now draws tourism from Edinburgh, Glasgow, and even highlanders around Nairn to view this Bridge that arches over the River Findhorn.
One of the many great things to do in Nairn, the Bridge allows excellent views of the River Findhorn as it flows south and is also a great destination place to take a picture!
Dulsie Bridge is worth going out of your way to make sure to plot a course to this attraction during the period of your stay in Nairn.
Nairn Old Parish Church
Located just off the high street of Nairn, this free Church is a sight to behold and towers over the surrounding buildings. The Church is beautiful, with stunning stained-glass windows and a magnificent belltower on one end of the building.
The Church is open to worshippers but is an excellent place to come and respect the well-preserved interior. The Church takes donations, so feel free to support the town’s centrepiece.
As you wander the high street in Nairn, stop by this excellent attraction along your way.
More Things to do in The Highlands
- Things to do in Arisaig
- Things to do in Aviemore
- Things to do in Beauly
- Things to do in Caithness
- Things to do in Carrbridge
- Things to do in Drumnadrochit
- Things to do in Fort Augustus
- Things to do in Fort William
- Things to do in Gairloch
- Things to do in Invergordon
- Things to do in Inverness
- Things to do in Lochinver
- Things to do in Loch Ness
- Things to do in Newtonmore
- Things to do in Thurso
- Things to do in Ullapool
- Things to do in Wick