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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: Site Office High Street | Lewis Gardens, Colchester CO1 1PG, England
Phone Number:
+44 1206 713700
Website
Today
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
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 181 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 45
    Excellent
  • 43
    Very good
  • 29
    Average
  • 20
    Poor
  • 42
    Terrible
Some interesting things but..

The seating is good, chose wisely and what you see will be good. It is just a shame about the place being so large and empty and the food/drink facilities being so unappetising... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
ColchesterSleeper
,
colchester
Add Photo Write a Review

181 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
Showing 179: English reviews
colchester
Level Contributor
256 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

The seating is good, chose wisely and what you see will be good. It is just a shame about the place being so large and empty and the food/drink facilities being so unappetising. If we go in the evening we make sure we eat first or take something with you for the interval. They serve some of the worst wine... More 

Helpful?
Thank ColchesterSleeper
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This hasa to be the worst and most laughable venue we have visited in many a year. It cost a fortune to build and looks like an out of scale medical centre! We have really tried to warm to it having attended several exhibitions but to no avail. Talk about Emperors New Clothes! It is cold, clinical, bland and the... More 

Helpful?
Thank Malcolm H
Billericay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
682 reviews
290 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 248 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We had some spare time and were drawn to this modern building and Art Gallery. The architecture is stunning and very modern and the interior very bright and airy. There was an exhibition of the work of Zhou Enli with a huge mural by him above the windows. There was an exhibition of special pieces from the archives of local... More 

Helpful?
Thank Rvwr2012
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 April 2017 via mobile

Firstsite has all actives on which are fun.They have special night and day actives such as Harry Potter Night.They as well have movies play there.We watched the Lego Batman Movie there and it was a while after it had been out so we where the only ones in there!In the summer holidays they have a set of actives outside to... More 

Helpful?
Thank finsterfun
Level Contributor
22 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2017

I watched this place get thought about, built and used and i'm not sure if it was worth all the excitement. As an art student we were under the impression it was going to be the best thing in town but now it's here, the building is nice i suppose if you like modern architecture but one whole side of... More 

Helpful?
Thank Zoe F
Firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Zoe - you'll be glad to hear theres been a lot of change since your visit in July last year. We currently have three exhibitions on display, with all our galleries in use. Plus our long curved wall is currently home to a huge 140m long 'space-painting' by artist Zhang Enli. I hope you'll be back soon to see... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
137 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2017

Having had an email telling me about the Wunderkammer exhibit and also Zhang Enli mural I made a visit. I was expecting to see the mural and be mildly impressed and to be thrilled by the Wunderkammer exhibit. Instead I found myself totally enthralled by the mural following it round two or three times. The Wunderkammer consists of three display... More 

Helpful?
Thank Randoman1
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2017

The Zhang Enli mural was mentioned on TV on Friday evening so as we were passing near Colchester on Saturday we decided to call in and take a look. I liked Zhang Enli's trees but even better was this amazing building. Yes it's modern architecture but modern architecture which works - like the Gugenheim in Bilbao the design just drew... More 

Helpful?
Thank 967Blossom967
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviewed 8 March 2017 via mobile

A huge building, said to be an art gallery. I saw one painting, two if you count the trees painted on the interior walls. Half the building was closed off and the rest was just bare. The gift shop and cafe were selling at higher prices than similar places.

Helpful?
Thank foulfaerie
Firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi FoulFaerie, We're currently in the middle of a big change over period at Firstsite, meaning unfortunately the galleries are closed whilst we install all the new works. However, on Saturday 11th March we're opening three brand new exhibitions; Zhang Enli (who's huge forest painting you saw on the curved walls), Wunderkammer and WorldsUpsideDown. You can find out more about... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
178 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2017

When opened this was trumpeted as being a major regional arts facility but it was a bit of a let down until it was under new management in the last year or so. Now it seems to have quite a good selection of art, both on the large open area and in the smaller rooms off to the side. Good... More 

Helpful?
Thank SFM1959
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 March 2017 via mobile

With all the vibrant art and artists in the Colchester area, how do they manage to exhibit so little, and make it so banal. Where are all the rooms of good art and energetic creativity? Not here!

Helpful?
Thank David B
Firstsite, Marketing Co at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi David, We're currently in the middle of a big change over period at Firstsite, meaning unfortunately the galleries are closed whilst we install all the new works. However, on Saturday 11th March we're opening three brand new exhibitions; Zhang Enli, Wunderkammer and WorldsUpsideDown. You can find out more about these on our website, and we have a special opening... More 

Travellers who viewed Firstsite also viewed

 

Been to Firstsite? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Firstsite and other visitors
1 question
Ask a question
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?