A PROGRAMME of Wirral-based entertainment is planned to coincide with the Tall Ships' return to the River Mersey later this year.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to make their way to the Liverpool City Region for The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta, taking place from Thursday May 24 to Monday, May 28.

The family-friendly entertainment - organised by Wirral Council - will celebrate our maritime and Celtic connections with Dublin and Bordeaux past, present and future – and showcase the very best in arts and culture from around the globe.

In Wirral, commissions from renowned artists will engage residents and visitors alike as part of a family-friendly weekend with events in New Brighton and Hamilton Square, building up to Parade of Sail day on Monday, May 28 when the ships depart the Mersey for the next stage of their race across the sea.

Meet magical mermaids, come face-to-face with weird and wonderful sea creatures and even some surprising ships funnels!

Throughout the weekend, performances from artists and community groups promise to make Wirral’s waterfront ring with the sounds of the sea.

Birkenhead Town Hall will be seen in a whole new light as it becomes the canvas for a specially-created spectacular 3D projection that’s not to be missed.

Cllr Christine Spriggs, Wirral's cabinet member for delivering differently and culture said: "We're delighted to be presenting this programme of entertainment and events to celebrate the amazingly popular Tall Ships Regatta and Wirral’s unique connection to the sea.

"It's the first key event in the Imagine Wirral calendar for 2018, which is set to provide extraordinary cultural experiences for our communities, champion the creativity we have here and raise the profile of this fantastic borough. We’re grateful to all of the organisations who have supported the programme so far."

The events have been organised by Wirral Council in partnership with Culture Liverpool and funded by Arts Council England.

The Tall Ships Festival is part of Imagine Wirral which sees cultural events taking place throughout the year, in partnership with Wirral Growth Company, Wirral Chamber of Commerce and other organisations.

The programme of events is, as follows:  

  • Somewhere Beyond The Sea (Friday and Saturday, May 25 and 26 from 11am - 4pm). While the Tall Ships are resting in port over in Liverpool, take part in family-friendly workshops and meet sea-themed performers in New Brighton, including giant sea creatures, and even some surprising ships funnels!
  • Message in a bottle (Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26) Marine Point, New Brighton. Lighting the Bottle ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 26 May from 6.30pm onwards Marine Lake, New Brighton. Be sure to add a message to artist Lulu Quinn’s beautiful ‘Message in a Bottle’ installation at Marine Point on Friday 25 May before it floats into position on Marine Lake before the sun sets on Saturday 26 May.
  • This thought-provoking work, made from hundreds of bottles collected around the region, carries a poignant environmental message about the impact of plastic on our seas. On Saturday May 26 see the bottle light up with the help of beautiful water ballerinas and a real-life mermaid.
  • Animated Square: On Sunday, May 27 from 6pm – late in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead. Birkenhead Town Hall becomes the canvas for a spectacular 3D projection by award-winning Illuminos inspired by Birkenhead's people, places and history. 
  • Parade of sail day: Monday, May 28, all day. Wirral waterfront and New Brighton will host live music from local choirs and artists and spectacular street theatre performances will be taking place along the promenade from Seacombe to New Brighton, as we wave farewell to the magnificent vessels and their crews.
  • Timings for the Parade of Sail will be added to www.imaginewirral.com closer to the date.
  • Continental food market: Saturday 26 May, 10am - 8pm Sunday 27 & Monday 28 May, 10am - 6pm on Ian Fraser Walk, New Brighton Grab a bite to eat from the food and drink market, offering a taste of foreign shores along Ian Fraser Walk.

More details from www.imaginewirral.com and @ImagineWirral on Twitter.

Further details and timings will be added closer to the date.