There's lots to do in and around Nairn
Named as a top desirable destination in 2010 in a Trip Advisor survey
Nairn was delighted and somewhat surprised to appear second in a list of top desirable destinations for 2010 in a Trip Advisor survey. And yet, for those who live there it is not a total surprise. Nairn has played host to a number of new and exciting events over recent years and has been described as the Festival Capital of the Highlands. One festival that captured the imagination of the film world was Tilda Swinton's Cinema of Dreams first held in 2008. Film buffs from all over the world attended this quirky festival and hailed it as a exciting new initiative that recaptured the joy of cinema for young and old alike. It resulted in Tilda's appearance on a number of US talks shows. She took great delight in mentioning that she lived in the quiet Highland town of Nairn. This could well be one of the main reasons for Nairn's appearance on the world stage as a desirable world destination.
But as you might imagine, Nairn has even more to offer. With its long, sandy, Blue Flag beaches and promenades it became known in Victorian times as the Brighton of the North. It's unique micro-climate ensures that it has more hours of sunshine and less rainfall than towns just 15 miles away. So it's a great place for a family holiday offering a range of B&B accommodation, hotels and holiday parks. You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to eat out with a range of fine restaurants to choose from.
So what is there to do in Nairn? Where do you start? Each month Cinema Nairn screens a classic film and Music Nairn hosts a classical music evening - both in the Community Centre. Throughout the year Nairn hosts a number of events offering entertainment for visitors and locals alike. The first major event of the year is the Nairn Book & Arts Festival held during the second week of June. The Highland Games is Nairn's biggest event and is usually held on the 3rd Saturday in August. The piping starts around 9.30am and the Highland dancing and athletics take place in the afternoon. Don't miss the spectacular Massed Pipes and Drums marching through the town around midday. The highlight of the year for the farming community is the Nairn Farmers' Show, held in Auldearn usually on the last Saturday in July.
Nairn is fortunate in having two championship golf courses, both set close to the shores of the Moray Firth. Together they provide a challenging and enjoyable test for all standards of players - from beginners to the world's top amateurs and professionals. The Nairn Golf Club was founded in 1887 and has hosted a large number of prestigious tournaments down the years, including the Walker Cup in 1999. In 2012, the Nairn Club will host the ladies equivalent, the Curtis Cup. Its slightly younger neighbour, Nairn Dunbar Golf Club, was founded in 1899 and has been earning itself a growing reputation among the game's connoisseurs, having been described by respected golf commentator Peter Alliss as one of Scotland's hidden gems. Just down the round is the new Castle Stuart Golf Links, destined to become another world-class course. So Nairn is a major golfing centre and offers easy access to a further 30 golf courses within a hour's drive.
The Moray Firth is home to one of only two colonies of dolphins in the UK and they are often spotted from viewpoints along Nairn's shore. The seafront also hosts an active harbour, once a fishing port but now berthing mainly leisure craft. Other boat owners offer trips to see the resident bottle-nose dolphins or simply to view Nairn from a different angle.
In addition, Nairn seafront also offers areas of outstanding natural beauty such as Culbin Forest and Culbin Sands Nature Reserve, where many species of indigenous flora and fauna can be seen, as well as a large number of summer visiting birds and migratory flocks. And for those who enjoy the invigorating sea air, there are magnificent views across the Moray Firth.
One of the most popular walks starts from the harbour and heads west long the promenade for about 3km before turning inland to Delnies Wood and then looping back to the shore. Covering a total of 10km over fairly easy terrain, this walk includes some stunning views including an overview the town. The harbour is also the starting point for a walk along the River Nairn to Cawdor. The beautiful stretch of riverside is home to a variety of birds and wildlife and is a restful experience surrounded by trees and the sound of the water. At Cawdor there's a choice of five different way-marked nature trails within woods surrounding the historic castle.
Overall, Nairn makes an excellent base for exploring the Scottish Highlands. The town is 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. Take a walk around the battlefield and remember how many fell there fighting for what they believed in. Also close to Nairn are Clava Cairns, Fort George, Cawdor Castle, Brodie Castle, Inverness and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.
So when you are in the Highlands come and see for yourself why Nairn deserves its status as a top world destination.