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Firstsite

Art galleries, Shopping & Fashion, Museums
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Address: High Street | Lewis Gardens, Colchester CO1 1UF, England
Phone Number: +44 1206 577067
Website
Today
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Open now
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Hours:
Sun 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon - Sat 10:00 am - 7:00 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.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 63 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 17
    Excellent
  • 13
    Very good
  • 5
    Average
  • 11
    Poor
  • 17
    Terrible
Most recent review
Disappointing

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... read more

3 of 5 starsReviewed February 18, 2015
pennyk299
,
Colchester, United Kingdom
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63 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Colchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
16 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 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
8 reviews 8 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
6 helpful votes 6 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 2
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
3 reviews 3 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 

Clacton-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2014

I think it was Mark Twain who said there is no such thing as bad publicity; I remember well the controversy surrounding the building and opening this site on the old bus station. I'm not sure how this will be viewed in decades to come but I've been a couple of times and would recommend Firstsite to anyone visiting the... More 

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

Hi James, Thanks for your comments, we're glad to hear you have enjoyed visiting firstsite. Although the current café will be closing after Sunday, we are simply changing catering supplier, so a new café will open soon. In the meantime, do visit our extended Christmas shop and festive activities throughout December! Thanks again for your support. More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
29 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2014

Firstsite is all about contemporary visual arts, and was a controversial place when opened a few years ago due to the costs involved. However, Colchester is a very creative place and needs somewhere like this that has exhibitions, gets people of all ages and abilities involved in art and activities. They show films, presentations, have exhibitions and much more. We've... More 

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

Hi Jane, Thanks for your comments, we're really pleased that you enjoyed your visit and have come back to sample all the different things we do. Halloween was really popular, we also have some Christmas events and activities for families, check the website for all the details and we'll look forward to seeing you again soon. More 

Norwich, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
34 attraction reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2014

We came across Firstsite by chance, because my husband wanted to look at the group of Scooters gathered nearby. We thought the building was breathtaking and the current exhibition thought provoking. The young ladies talked to us and answered our questions politely and enthusiastically, and explained the artist's thinking which had inspired the artwork on show, in a wide range... More 

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

Hi Veronica, We're so glad you enjoyed your recent visit to firstsite, thanks for sharing your experiences! We hope to see you back again soon. More 

Essex UK
Top Contributor
329 reviews 329 reviews
68 attraction reviews
376 helpful votes 376 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

I regularly pop in when passing & not just to use loo :) I think we are lucky to have such a great arts centre in Colchester. I'll admit some of the exhibitions may have limited appeal but the current Bruce McLean is very good. However, Firstsite is much more than just exhibitions, it's Free Family Saturdays, Dinky Disco, Live... More 

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

Thanks for your kind words Angel! We're really glad you enjoyed your visit to firstsite and look forward to seeing you around the exhibition or at a family event again soon. More 

Woodbridge, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

This is a great gallery and a great piece of architecture. Went to see the Bruce McClean exhibition which was very interesting/challenging. The staff at first site are absolutely great,very knowledgable and engaging and happy to help,unlike some galleries these days. Plus the cafe /restaurant is also very good,good food good value .Highly recommended

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

Hi Chris, So glad you enjoyed your recent visit to firstsite, we look forward to seeing you again soon! More 

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