Next time you go to catch a bus in Newcastle you might find yourself coming face to face with a puffin or sitting next to a seal as part of an initiative from the National Trust to encourage families to get outdoors and closer to nature this summer.

You may have heard of the Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign’, a list of top outdoor activities voted for by the nation’s children which include outdoor adventures like tracking wild animals and going bird spotting. Now, the National Trust in the North East has taken things one step further. They’ve covered a bus stop in Newcastle City Centre with some of the unique wildlife you can find right here on our doorstep.

Families out and about in the city centre can nature spot whilst hopping on and off the bus at Pilgrim Street where a seal, puffin and red squirrel are some of the more recognisable creatures waiting to greet you, as well as a hare, red kite, heron, swallow and different species of butterfly.

Emily Bryce, visitor experience manager at Gibside told us:

“Our aim is to reconnect people with the unique wildlife on our doorstep in the North East. We want to showcase the amazing places where you can go to get up close to nature and encourage families to spend more time outdoors.”

“When the weather began to get hotter this year we saw a significant increase in visitors to our places. In the first two weeks of July alone we had 10,000 more visitors compared to last year, an increase of 29%. Whether you visit one of our larger attractions like Cragside or Wallington, one of our free to access stretches of coastline like Druridge Bay, or areas of our top countryside spots like Allen Banks, there are plenty of opportunities for families to have nature adventures this summer.”

The bus stop is just one element of a wider initiative by the Trust to give families everything they need for a day in the great outdoors during the holidays. The Trust’s local to you website for the North East ( has downloadable nature spotter guides for birds, bugs and butterflies, pond life and trees. You can also find out about the Trust’s summer wild-time challenge which challenges families to see if they can do 25 of the ‘50 things’ during the summer holidays. Those who do are eligible to enter into a competition to star in their very own nature movie. To give you a helping hand the Trust have put together a downloadable planner outlining all of the activities on the Trust’s ‘50 things’ campaign and the best places to do them in the North East.

Emily continued:

“Our planner not only highlights the activities you can do with the Trust every day, but the special wildlife events that are taking place for families this summer. These vary from rockpool rambles on the Northumberland Coast and seashore safaris at Souter Lighthouse, to moth mornings at Gibside and a ramble with a ranger to try and spot red squirrels at Wallington.”

For those of you who spot the Trust’s wild bus stop on Pilgrim Street, you won’t be able to miss the grey seal propped up on the bench. The Trust is looking for names for this seal which you can suggest on their Facebook page which is popular with families across the North East. To find out more about the National Trust in the North East log onto or to keep up to date and suggest a name for the seal at

Image by Barry Pells