We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: High Street | Lewis Gardens, Colchester CO1 1JH, England
Phone Number: +44 1206 577067
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Tue - Sun 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Description: Firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex...
Firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex. Firstsite's stunning golden building was designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, and opened in September 2011. The gallery initiates world-class exhibitions by established and emerging artists, produces publications, and has extensive learning opportunities and artists' support initiatives. Over the last fifteen years firstsite has gained a strong reputation by presenting ambitious work to new audiences in the East of England and beyond.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 68 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 17
    Excellent
  • 14
    Very good
  • 8
    Average
  • 11
    Poor
  • 18
    Terrible
Stunning architecture housing mediocre exhibitions

A building of this quality could form a marvelous backdrop to some stunning art. Unfortunately all it served to spotlight today was the paucity of invention on display here. By... read more

3 of 5 starsReviewed March 30, 2015
futtock21
,
London, United Kingdom
Add Photo Write a Review

68 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Colchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2015

I don’t know whether any body has seen some of the write ups in the local press about the Firstsites exhibitions this past week. Well, I visited there today and was quite struck on the Carla Zaccagnini exhibition Elements of Beauty, first impressions may look just like black frames painted on walls but I found this to be a fascinating... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Bob, Thank you for your comments on your recent visit to Firstsite, we're really glad you enjoyed your time here and particularly the Carla Zaccagnini exhibition. You have mentioned the negativity around this exhibition in our local paper, so please feel free to share your thoughts on the show with them too! We hope to see you again soon,... More 

London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
319 reviews 319 reviews
36 attraction reviews
202 helpful votes 202 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2015

A building of this quality could form a marvelous backdrop to some stunning art. Unfortunately all it served to spotlight today was the paucity of invention on display here. By far the worst offender was an installation by one Carla Zaccagnini entitled "Elements of Beauty." It comprises a room full of empty frames with numbers each apparently the precise size... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hello, Thank you for your comments, I'm sorry to hear our current exhibitions didn't meet your expectations. Firstsite has a changing programme of exhibitions so perhaps you will consider visiting again during our next exhibition: John Virtue: The Sea which opens on 12 June. This is a major solo exhibition by this renowned Norfolk-based painter, featuring huge canvases inspired by... More 

colchester
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
26 attraction reviews
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015

I think the Art displays have been poor but like the auditorium and have seen some good films there. Cafe was good but service slow and looked out over very dismal waste land. More could be made of this area. Some good kids activities on offer.

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi, I'm sorry to hear your visit to Firstsite last December didn't meet your expectations. I do hope you'll consider returning now we have fully reopened. The current exhibitions Carla Zaccagnini: Elements of Beauty and The Parliament of Things feature international artists working in a wide range of artforms. The ENAS Studio Shots exhibition showcases work from regional artists as... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015

I went to 'see' the new art exhibition 'Elements of Beauty' at the Firstsite "Visual" Arts Facility. On entering the gallery one is presented by a series of empty frames and the opportunity to look at the exhibition via an audio guide. If this were a new idea it might be interesting and engaging - but I encountered more or... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Alex, I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed by your recent visit to Firstsite. As you mentioned, contemporary visual art can take many forms and Carla Zaccagnini's Elements of Beauty aims to encourage the visitor to think about the wider context of the Suffragette movement through the audio guide, something the damaged paintings themselves (in their now restored... More 

Colchester
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2015

Basically a white elephant with too much space and too little to see. Does have a nice auditorium and occasionally work by local artists

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi I'm sorry to hear you didn't have a good experience at Firstsite recently. As you may have realised when you visited, we had no exhibition programme at the time. We have now fully reopened so as well as seeing our spring exhibitions: Carla Zaccagnini: Elements of Beauty and The Parliament of Things, you can also sample our new Terrace... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
17 attraction reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

I had such high hopes of this venue. It is a stunning building and had a good cafe until the people that ran it recently pulled out. Because it is a modern arts facility it does not have enough scope. The films put on are very good but the advertising so poor you don't know what is on unless you... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Penny, I'm sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your recent visit to Firstsite. As you probably realised, we are not fully open while we carry out essential maintenance and install our new exhibitions, during this time we have also had a temporary cafe run by our young people's group Y.A.K. I'm sorry you didn't see our leaflets at... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2015

We went to Firstsite to see the screening of the National Theatre's 'Treasure Island' which was great. However, the auditorium was chilly (I ended up wearing my thick winter coat throughout), my seat was faulty and so it was like sitting in a deckchair, there were technical issues with the transmission (for which there was an apology) but it was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear you had a bad experience at our screening of Treasure Island last weekend. Would you be able to email me at info@firstsite.uk.net with your original seat number and name so that we are able to rectify the problems and perhaps offer you some compensation for your disappointing evening. Thank you. More 

Essex
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2014

As we had a french relative staying with us and we had never visited Firsite, we took a trip into Colchester to visit it. What we found was a cafe, a gift shop and a Christmas display. We were told by a helpful member of staff that First Site did not have any art right now. This left us rather... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Dear sistaEssex, We're sorry to hear that you were disappointed by your visit to firstsite last week. We've tried to publicise as widely as possible that we have a gap in our exhibition programme until March next year while we carry out some maintenance, and recruit a new catering provider. In the meantime as you saw, we have a pop-up... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2014

A great place which lifts ones heart. Yes, some of the exhibitions are demanding and some I have not especially warmed to, but it is great to stretch ones brain. The Bruce McLean exhibition was something very special not least because of the very valuable guided tours provided by firstsite staff. Keep up the good work!

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Jonathan, Thank you for your glowing review! We're so glad you enjoyed our most recent exhibition and your tour with our very knowledgeable staff. Don't forget to visit our Organs and Oysters display until Thursday and the Butterfly Effect exhibition with pupils from a local SEN school. Thanks again for your support. More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2014

I went to see the Bruce McLean exhibition before the Art Gallery closes for it's rethink. Given that this exhibition has been the only art display in the gallery for the last 6 months I thought they might have done a better job spending time explaining and interpreting the art on show. Although the building is smart, modern and clean,... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Alex, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy your visit to firstsite over the weekend. As you mentioned, this is a time of change for us and we hope that we will be able to address concerns about interpretation, the gallery spaces and the café, among other things while we are closed. The University Space is no longer used to... More 

Travelers who viewed Firstsite also viewed

 

Been to Firstsite? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Firstsite staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?