Explore Nairn

Nairn is surrounded by beautiful scenery and wonderful beaches but dig deeper and you will also find a wealth of history in and around this attractive town. Click on the map or the key to the right to browse some of the accessible, interesting sites to be found in Nairn and the surrounding area.

1. Auldearn

Dovecote at AuldearnAuldearn was granted a Royal Charter by William the Lion in the late 12th century. A 17th-century dovecote now sits on the site of his former castle. 'Auld Eren' was also home to the infamous 1661 witch trial of Isobel Gowdie after she had confessed to using the parish church to worship the devil. Visit the old parish church and the memorial to the Covenanter battle of 1645.Back to top

2. Ardclach

Bell tower at ArdclachA 17th-century bell tower at Ardclach was used as a watch tower, prison and belfry. It overlooks the old parish kirk and has excellent views of the surrounding countryside. The tower was built in 1626 and reconstructed in 1832 incorporating some of the dressings from the original building. The churchyard is still in use and has some old and interesting gravestones.Back to top

3. Dulsie Bridge

Dulsie BridgeThis bridge spans a beautiful gorge over the River Findhorn and is part of the Military Road built in 1754 by General Wade's successor, Major Caulfeild. The farmhouse at the north end of the bridge is thought to have been the Kings House or Inn in the 18th century. Robert Burns is known to have stayed there during his Highland Tour in 1787.Back to top

4. Little Urchany Ring Cairn

Little Urchany ring cairnLittle Urchany cairn is a ring cairn, a prehistoric burial monument that dates to the Early Bronze Age, some 4000-4500 years ago. The cairn has not survived the passage of years as well as its contemporaries at Clava (near Inverness). Much of the original cairn has been removed, although the kerb and some of the standing stones which formed the surrounding circle can still be seen. MoreBack to top

5. Barevan Chapel

Barevan Chapel ruinsA fascinating ruin of a 14th-century pre-reformation chapel where the Earls of Cawdor had their Burial Ground. The graveyard contains some very old gravestones from the medieval period. The hand-bell that originally called the people to worship is now at Cawdor Castle. MoreBack to top

6. Cawdor Castle

Cawdor CastleCawdor Castle was built in the 14th century as the home of the Earls of Cawdor. The tower is said to have been built around a holly tree, symbolising life or luck. The castle is famed for its association with William Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth' and is set in extensive gardens. MoreBack to top

7. Nairn

The Wallace BandstandThe historic burgh of Nairn - or Invernairn as it was once known - was granted a royal charter by William the Lion around the end of the 12th century. More recently it has become famous for its sandy beaches and sunny climate, and is known as "the Brighton of the North". Go to Nairn Town Trail pageBack to top

The sites listed here are the most accessible as defined in the Nairn Access to Archaeology Audit of 1999.