Wirral’s Williamson Art Gallery and Museum re-opens its doors to the public this week with a fresh new look and its own café and shop.

The building has been closed for two months while work was carried out.

The project is still continuing and the whole building is not yet open, but this Friday visitors will have the chance to get a preview of the new-look Williamson.

The café is being run by an employment scheme for people with disabilities.

"Best Bites" has already enjoyed success elsewhere in the borough and he shop will feature the work of local craftspeople including potters, textile artists, jewellers and photographers.

Colin Simpson, curator of museums at Wirral Council, said: "This is great news for the Williamson and we hope to welcome more people through the doors than ever.

"Over the last 20 years, the Williamson has provided a venue for many local artists who have found that exhibitions in Merseyside were more difficult to come by as other venues changed their priorities.

"We’re delighted that our opening exhibiton by artists Sheila Turner, Tony Evans and Peter Dover - all with very different backgrounds with quite distinct characters - continues the Williamson’s tradition of showing world class art by local artists."

Councillor Chris Meaden, council cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure, said: “These are the biggest changes in the gallery’s 85-year-old history and as such, are incredibly important in making sure that the Williamson continues to appeal to new audiences.

“The improvements will not only significantly improve the experience for visitors, they will also make the building much more accessible and community-focused.

“I would like to thank staff and supporters of the museum, including the Friends’ group, for all their help and hard work leading up the re-opening.

"The museum looks amazing, and it’s in no small part due to their continued support.”

Opened in 1928, the popular visitor attraction not only includes works of national importance, but also has built a reputation for maintaining an ambitious exhibition programme, showcasing the work of local artists and craftspeople.