Nairn Beach to the west – an accessible coastal walk

Nairn is one of my favourite beaches, with miles of glorious white sand, rock pools, lovely cafes and lots of fun for children. It’s possible to walk in either direction; this route heads west from the main Central Beach towards the golf club.

Distance: 1.8 miles / 3km return to the golf club.

Parking: Lots of parking available at Central Beach (‘Links Car Park’), although it can get busy in summer. There is a voluntary charge.

Amenities: Lots! There are public toilets by the playground and splashpark, though no loo-seats. There are two playground areas, and a fantastic Splash park. Strathnairn Cafe is on the route next to the Splashpark, and there is also James’s cafe at the putting green just off to the left here. We also like Basil Cafe in the harbour if you decide to extend your walk the other way from the car park.

Buggy/bike-friendly? Very suitable, the path is wide level tarmac all the way. Nearer to the golf club there is no barrier on the beach side of the path, and a drop (perhaps a metre) down to the sand, just something to be aware of with wee ones.

Nairn Beach walk: the route

1. From the Links Car Park, walk towards the shore, and follow the upper tarmac path to the left. You will shortly pass a D-Day memorial commemorating soldiers who trained here over the winter of 1943/44. This always makes me think about children’s book The Amazing Life of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo, which is set in Devon, where land is being evacuated for D-Day training.

2. Next you will pass the playground, Strathnairn Cafe, and the excellent splash park.

3. From here the path moves closer to the beach, with expansive views over towards the Black Isle. You will pass the leisure centre. There is also a permanent orienteering course here which is good fun.

4. The beach also becomes rockier; this is a great spot for rock pooling!

5. Further along you will pass the Nairn Golf View hotel, and an interesting sign about the history of Nairn’s development into a beach resort.

6. The path joins a minor road to the golf course. The sign at the golf club gates makes it clear that this is the end of the path, and we turned back at this point.

If you don’t have wheels, you could continue along the beach. If you plan to do this, I’d recommend consulting a map to understand the geography of Whiteness Head, and be aware that some of the area beyond it is military land.

After returning to the Links Car Park, you could extend your walk further along the coast to Nairn harbour.

Nairn Beach walk: what is the terrain like?

This is an excellent accessible walk, with a wide high quality tarmac path all the way. For those with small children, it is worth being aware of the lack of barrier for some of the route (see picture below).

Things to look for

Look out for the permanent orienteering course, shells and driftwood on the beach, and the excellent Nairn Splash Pad!

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