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Nairn Town Trail

The 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 has become known as "the Brighton of the North". Click on the map or the key to the right to browse some of the interesting sites and buildings to see in Nairn.

1. Constabulary Gardens

Constabulary GardensKing William is said to have stayed at Nairn Castle in 1196.  Nothing of the castle can be seen today but Constabulary Gardens is believed to have been the original site, with commanding views over the harbour and town. MoreBack to top

2. Sheriff Falconar's House

Sheriff Falconar's HouseSheriff Falconar's House at 79 and 79a High Street dates to the 18th century. It is reputed to be the oldest house in Nairn and remains one of the best preserved. MoreBack to top

3. Nairn Old Parish Church

Ruins of Nairn Old Parish ChurchNairn Old Parish Church was originally built in 1658.  After severe structural damage it was rebuilt in 1810 and it is these ruins that can be seen today.  It has also been suggested that the church was built over or near the site of a medieval mill. MoreBack to top

4. The Straith Monument

The Straith Monument (broad obelisk)The Straith Monument was erected in 1816 outside the former parish school.  The monument was gifted by former pupils in recognition of the renowned teacher John Straith. MoreBack to top

5. Jubilee Fountain

Jubilee FountainJubilee Fountain commemorates Queen Victoria's sixtieth year on the throne.  It is constructed of granite and wrought iron and decorated with medallions of the British Lion. MoreBack to top

6. The Highland Hotel

Highland HotelThe Highland Hotel dates from the later Victorian period when Nairn became known as the 'Brighton of the North'. A number of grand hotels were built to accommodate an influx of tourists keen to take the bracing air and healing waters of the town. MoreBack to top

7. Town House of Roses of Kilravock

Plaque outlining the building's historyNo 36 High Street, although a comparatively recent building on the outside, incorporates a much older building which was once the Town House of the Roses of Kilravock.  The Duke of Cumberland stayed here in 1746, the night before the Battle of Culloden, while Prince Charlie dined with the Roses at their ancestral home, Kilravock Castle. MoreBack to top

8. The Town and County Buildings

Steeple of the Town and County BuildingsThe administrative centre of the town was built as Nairn Court House in 1818; a steeple was added in 1860. This was the site of the old tollbooth first recorded in the late 16th century, and altered and rebuilt in 1750 and 1811.  Elements of the tollbooth, such as a prison cellar, may still survive beneath the present building. MoreBack to top

9. The Market Cross

Market CrossThe Market Cross is a red sandstone pillar erected in 1757 to replace an older cross which would probably have stood outside the old tollbooth.  The cross was moved to its present location in 1968 following road improvements.  The stone that sits on top of this pillar is reckoned to be the old Horloge Stone (sundial), which originally stood at the corner of Pole Road (later renamed Leopold Street). MoreBack to top

10. Viewfield House and Dr John Grigor statue

Viewfield House with Dr John Grigor statue in foreground

This impressive Regency mansion stands in extensive grounds and is approached via an avenue of trees. It is now home to Nairn Museum. In front of the mansion stands a statue of Dr John Grigor (1814-1886) who took a leading role in turning the market town of Nairn into the 'Brighton of the North'. He established the Nairn Museum in 1858 and other attractions that can still be seen include the ornamental shelters on The Links, built around 1869. MoreBack to top

11. The Wallace Bandstand

Wallace bandstandThis important cast iron bandstand was built using a bequest from John Wallace, a Nairnshire man, who had emigrated to Australia.  The bandstand was officially opened in 1884 and a 'Half-Holiday' was proclaimed throughout the town in honour of the occasion. MoreBack to top

12. Victoria Hall

Victoria HallThe Victoria Hall was built in 1887 as a social centre for the Fishertown, where marriages were celebrated and religious and temperance meetings held. MoreBack to top

13. The Old Harbour

View of the Old HarbourThe Old Harbour was completed in 1821 to plans by Thomas Telford.  The fishing industry thrived and over 100 boats were based here.  The present harbour was built in 1932 by which time the industry had begun to decline. MoreBack to top

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