Nairn 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 was the county town of the wider county of Nairn also known as Nairnshire.
The town is now best known as a seaside resort, with two golf courses, 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.
William Whitelaw the British deputy Prime Minister 1979-88 was born in Nairn and has a street named after his family.
James Augustus Grant who discovered the source of the Nile together with Speke was born at Househill, attended Nairn Academy and died at Nairn in 1892. There is a plaque to his memory in St Paul's Cathedral. Charlie Chaplin used to holiday every year in Nairn and stayed at the Newton Hotel
King James VI of Scotland, 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 Scottish 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.
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 Nairn railway station in 1855, new houses and hotels were built in the elegant West End. The station is on the Aberdeen to 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.
Sports and Culture
Nairn is known as a world class golfing destination, with two 18 hole Championship golf courses. One of these, The Nairn Golf Club is one of the greatest traditional links courses in the world and was established in 1887. Its designers include Archie Simpson, Old Tom Morris and James Braid. It has hosted many tournaments culminating in the 1999 Walker Cup and is visited by golfers from all over the world. It is currently ranked number 25 in the definitive list of the Top 100 courses in Britain & Ireland 2008/2009 and will be the venue for the 2012 Curtis Cup. The second is Nairn Dunbar Golf Club.
Nairn is also the home of Scottish Under-21 champion Kelsey MacDonald - currently a top Scottish female amateur.
The local football team is Nairn County F.C., who play in the Highland Football League. They recently picked up their first trophy in 31 years when they won the North of Scotland Cup 3-1 against local rivals Forres Mechanics F.C. at Grant Street Park, Inverness. The town has another football team, Nairn St Ninian, who are a junior outfit.
The town also hosts the Nairn International Jazz Festival each August, usually attracting some well-known and world class musicians. Also this year Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, who lives in Nairn, created a film festival entitled "Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams" which was created out of an old bingo hall in the town. 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.
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.