Nestled in the Highlands of Scotland, Nairnshire embraces quaint villages, historic charm, and natural beauty which extends from Moray Firth's coastline into the inspiring Scottish highlands. This diverse area offers tranquillity and excitement as you can relax in serene countryside retreats, enjoy outdoor activities, or delve into historical narratives.

Our Nairnshire guide provides invaluable insights about this beautiful area, highlighting historical relevance, schooling, popular landmarks, top activities, residential gems, transport links, and much more for those considering making Nairnshire their home.

History of Nairnshire

Nairnshire's history is a vivid tapestry that threads together pivotal battles, a flourishing fishing industry, and yet charms with its humble highland heritage. Nairn, the county town, bases its origin from a Pictish settlement and later grew as an important port during middle ages. The decisive Battle of Culloden of 1746, which marked the end of the Jacobite Risings, was fought nearby. The 18th and 19th century witnessed Nairnshire evolve into a popular Victorian spa town, sought-after by tuberculosis patients for its high altitude and dry atmosphere. The region's history, interspersed with folklore, echoed in castle ruins and thatched cottages, is a compelling narrative for history enthusiasts.


The magic of Nairnshire is hidden in its landmarks, with three topping the list – Cawdor Castle, Nairn Beach, and the Clava Cairns. Cawdor Castle, known for its Shakespearean association with 'Macbeth', provides insight into the area's rich heritage. Nairn Beach, with its golden sands and delightful views of Moray Firth, is perfect for tranquil walks or dolphin spotting. The Clava Cairns, a unique Bronze Age burial site with stone circles, takes you back in time, making you marvel at prehistoric human civilization.

Landmarks we love

  • Fort George near Ardersier: This 18th-century mighty fortress offers panoramic sea views and exhibits related to the Scottish military history.
  • Nairn Museum in Viewfield, Nairn: Showcasing local history through artifacts, paintings, and photographs, it's a fascinating trip down memory lane.
  • Culbin Forest near Nairn: With its sweeping sand dunes and unique birdlife, Culbin Forest is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise.
  • Culloden Battlefield near Inverness: The site where the last battle on British soil unfolded, offers a poignant reminder of our past.
  • Boath Doocot near Auldearn: A charming medieval dovecote that showcases architecture from centuries ago.

Top 10 things to do in Nairnshire

  • Nairn Farmers' Show in Auldearn: This annual event showcases local farming heritage - a delight for rural lovers.
  • Nairn International Jazz Festival in Nairn: Offering world-class jazz performances, amuse yourself with melodious jazz notes.
  • Fishing on the River Nairn or Moray Firth: Catch your own supper while basking in the area's natural beauty.
  • Golfing at Nairn Golf Club: Tee off at this internationally renowned golf course that overlooks the Moray Firth.
  • Dolphin Tours from Nairn harbour: Spot playful dolphins frolicking in the Moray Firth's waters.
  • Hiking in Culbin Forest or Cawdor woods: Enjoy invigorating walks amidst green canopies and fresh highland air.
  • Birdwatching at Culbin Sands: Adorned with unique birdlife, it is a treat for nature enthusiasts.
  • Bagging Munros: Ascend high altitude peaks to earn the title of being a 'Munro Bagger' while enjoying panoramic views.
  • Exploring Local Craft at Nairn's Art & Crafts centre: Discover local talent and shop for unique highland arts and crafts.
  • Whisky Tasting at nearby Glenmorangie or Dalmore distilleries: Sample the Scottish water of life and toast the highland spirit.

Our recommended areas to live in Nairnshire

  • Nairn: Known for its microclimate, friendly community, beautiful beaches, and its proximity to amenities and top schools, Nairn is a popular choice for families and retirees alike.
  • Auldearn: This charming parish village boasts historical relevance, peaceful surroundings, and is just a short drive from Nairn’s amenities. A perfect pick for those opting for countryside serenity.
  • Cawdor: Synonymous with the famous castle, Cawdor offers picture-postcard beauty with its traditional cottages, woodland walks and its quiet, tight-knit community. Ideal for privacy seekers.
  • Ferness: With spacious properties set against the backdrop of rolling green fields, Ferness provides an authentic highland living experience - a haven for nature lovers.
  • Ardersier: With its proximity to Inverness, Ardersier benefits from city amenities whilst retaining its coastal village charm. Well-suited for those needing city comforts in a tranquil setting.

Best schools in Nairnshire

Nairnshire’s commitment to top-quality education is reflected in its schools. Nairn Academy, the home of excellent secondary education, consistently achieves higher-than-average exam scores. At the primary level, Rosebank Primary and the smaller rural school, Auldearn Primary, provide a nurturing learning environment. Millbank primary, praised for its community spirit, focuses on well-rounded education. Nearby, Gordonstoun School’s exceptional boarding facilities and wide curriculum offer additional private schooling options. Each school is invested in creating a positive learning environment, fostering both academic achievement and personal growth.

Transport links in Nairnshire

Although Nairnshire presents a rural facade, its transport links are modern and efficient. The A96 links Nairnshire with Inverness to the west and Aberdeen to the east. Nairn railway station runs regular services to major Scottish cities. It's an hour's drive to Cairngorms National Park and to Loch Ness. For overseas travel, the nearby Inverness Airport offers both domestic and international flights, ensuring Nairnshire remains a convenient location for residents and visitors alike.

In conclusion, whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or a tranquil retreat seeker, Nairnshire offers a diversified tapestry of activities, landmarks, and culture. Its commitment to education, coupled with modern amenities and efficient transport links, makes Nairnshire a hidden highland gem, ready to be your perfect home.

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