AN ambitious line-up of events has been unveiled for Wirral in 2019 as it prepares to become "Borough of Culture" for the Liverpool City Region.

Throughout the year there will be major cultural experiences in unexpected locations with a programme based around the themes of discovery, exploration and great outdoors – designed to "showcase Wirral to the world."

The programme was previewed at an event hosted by Wirral Council and National Museums Liverpool at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight last night.

The line-up of events and activities builds on this year’s "Imagine Wirral" initiative which has seen more than 250,000 people attend and be part of cultural events.

Highlights from 2018 have included the Tall Ships Three Festivals Regatta celebrations, New Brighton Revisited, Lost Castles, the Giant Spectacular and River of Light.

The Borough of Culture was introduced by the Liverpool city region combined authority and designed to encourage cultural activities across the region.

St Helens has been the first recipient of the culture title, which will be officially handed over to Wirral on Saturday, December 8.

The award will rotate around the six local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) on an annual basis, enabling each borough to highlight the unique character and distinctiveness of its people and places.

Leader of Wirral Council Cllr Phil Davies said: “We are beyond thrilled to have been awarded the title of Borough of Culture for 2019.

"We’ve had an amazing year in 2018. More than a quarter-of-a-million people made memories to last a lifetime at some fabulous events, which also brought a major impact on our local economy.

"Our events programme this year has shown Wirral is capable of hosting these large scale events and creating incredible moments for our residents and visitors."

Wirral-based acts provided the entertainment for the evening, with performances by the Wilfred Owen Choir, L’Orchestra dell’Arte and upcoming artists She Drew the Gun.

Highlights announced so far include:

Wirral Globe:

Animated Square Revisited – In March, the projection show by award-winning Illuminos onto Birkenhead Town Hall, as seen as part of Wirral’s Tall Ships celebrations earlier this year.

Wirral Globe:

Made of Iron exhibition – From April, venues including the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and Birkenhead Priory will host an interactive exhibition developed in partnership with National Museums Liverpool and Cammell Laird.

Wirral Globe:

Radio Local – Wirral and Heart of Glass come together to bring Hunt and Darton’s latest touring production to the borough in April. This radio show built by locals, for locals, will be live for a day.

Wirral Globe:

Mersey River Festival – Wirral and Culture Liverpool come together for the return of the Mersey River Festival in May with spectacular performances, installations and  family entertainment.

Seeds of Change Commission – Hull’s Absolutely Cultured, Wirral and Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 join forces to create a new outdoor spectacle in three locations. In May, Birkenhead Park will be the setting for a production "designed to connect people and inspire imagination and curiosity."

Wirral Globe:

Rembrandt in Print – From June to September Lady Lever Art Gallery is to display 50 prints by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn taken from the Ashmolean Museum’s collections.

Wirral Globe:

Art outdoors – A summer programme of art in collaboration with Finsa, Open Eye Gallery, Wirral Met College and local arts organisations will see pop-up and temporary exhibitions appear in surprising locations and settings across the borough.

Wirral Globe:

Future Yard – The first Future Yard Festival in August will be the opening edition of an annual contemporary music festival. Developed by the team at Bido Lito! following this summer’s successful Wirral New Music Collective events, the festival will present national, international and local artists in a collection of Birkenhead's iconic spaces.

Wirral Globe:

Constellations – A series of cultural events linked to the moon and stars will bring together communities across Wirral in autumn 2019.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – Discussions are underway for the award-winning Liverpool Philharmonic to perform a concert in Wirral during 2019.

Walker Cup – Wirral will play host to some thrilling sporting moments in 2019 including the prestigious Walker Cup in September. The 47th biennial match between the amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland and the USA will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake as the club celebrates the 150th anniversary of its foundation.

Wirral Globe:

Distinctly exhibition – Gathering work by eight documentary photographers shot over the last six decades, the Distinctly exhibition will come to the Williamson Art Gallery from October to November as part of the 2019 LOOK International Photo Biennial curated by Open Eye Gallery.

Wirral Globe:

River of Light – Spectacular fireworks on the waterfront delivered in partnership with Culture Liverpool will thrill crowds once again and herald the start of the festive season with colour and light.

Councillor Davies added: "We will use our Borough of Culture year to tell the story of our magnificent peninsula through some truly memorable cultural experiences.”