Nairn - with its sandy beaches, mild weather and a host of attractions to suit all interests and ages - has been a popular holiday destination since the 19th century.
But Nairn doesn’t dwell on its past and offers a wide range of events from folk nights, ceilidhs and jazz music to a now well-established book and arts festival which is held in June. This is a real extravaganza of theatre, art galleries, music and a host of book-related events.
Other highlights in the town include the annual Highland Games, the Nairn International Jazz Festival, the Nairn Farmers’ Show and Fresh Food Fun Day - part of Highland Feast, the Highland food and drink festival and one of its best-attended events.
And from June to August, the local pipe band gives performances in the High Street every Saturday evening.
A popular seaside resort, the town’s seafront offers miles of sandy beaches extending east to the RSPB reserve and beyond to Culbin Forest.
Of Nairn’s two beaches, the main Central Beach has been in receipt of the Tidy Britain Group’s Seaside Award for a number of years.
Illustrating the quality of water and surrounding facilities, this award is monitored to ensure that high quality is maintained, especially during the summer months. The beach has also been awarded a prestigious Blue Flag award in past years.
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, many of which regularly participate in the local sailing club races. Other boat owners offer trips to see the dolphins or simply to view Nairn from a different angle.
Ongoing improvements to the seafront ensure that this natural asset will remain for many years to come. Information is displayed on noticeboards and on interpretative panels along the length of the seafront. Visitors can also take advantage of the facilities on offer at the nearby holiday park.
To get to the area, stroll down narrow Harbour Street and take in the small shops along the way. The friendly service will take you back to days gone by when things were done at a slower pace - fitting for this old part of the town.
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 firth. The Sutors of Cromarty and the dark mass of Ben Wyvis to the north-west, the coastal stretch up to Tarbat Ness and the hills of Sutherland beyond form an enchanting backdrop.