firstsite is Colchester's contemporary visual arts organisation. From its spectacular new building designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Vinoly, firstsite presents a varied and challenging programme of exhibitions, commissions, residencies and screenings, in a broad range of media and art forms, by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists.
At firstsite, visitors will experience the most exciting developments in contemporary art, and explore the rich artistic legacy cultivated by the East of England's unique landscape and character.
firstsite also offers a wide-ranging programme of creative events and activities for the whole family - from drop-in sessions for parents and toddlers, to intensive art and craft courses for adults, and special screenings, talks and debates in its state-of-the-art auditorium. A flourishing programme of work with diverse groups including schoolchildren, older people, young parents and looked after children aims to bring people together through free shared creative activities - inside the building and at grassroots level in the local community.
firstsite is proud to be a partner of Plus Tate, an 18-strong affiliation of regional galleries, including The Baltic in Gateshead, Turner Contemporary in Margate and The Hepworth Wakefield, which join together to exchange ideas, knowledge, skills and resources, as well as programmes and collections.
Where art meets commerce
An iconic, golden-clad crescent in the heart of historic Colchester, the new firstsite building has fast become an international centre for the contemporary visual arts, and also an exciting new cultural, social and commercial space for Essex and the region.
You can hire firstsite's 190-seat tiered auditorium, hi-spec meeting rooms and function space for a host of business purposes, including conferences, presentations, and product launches. firstsite is also available for club and society meetings, and makes a spectacular backdrop to private parties and celebrations.
Something for everyone
firstsite is a place to meet, eat, discover, learn - and just relax.
At the firstsite shop, you'll discover a covetable range of design-led gifts and souvenirs, and at café restaurant MUSA you can enjoy drinks, delicious snacks and light meals throughout the day. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, MUSA transforms into a destination restaurant serving an innovative modern British menu.
firstsite is completely free to enter, but through donations, memberships and legacies, you can contribute to its important work providing employment and learning opportunities for local people, and support for local and regional artist practitioners. Visit ww.firstsite.uk.net and click on 'Support us' to find out more.
Plan your visit
Located in the heart of historic Colchester's, just yards from the famous Castle and all the town's major high street shops and independent boutiques, firstsite is easily reached by road or rail, and just a short walk from several town-centre car parks. Fully accessible throughout, firstsite welcomes assistance dogs and provides a hearing loop in the auditorium and learning spaces, plus large-print exhibition guides and labels on request. To plan your trip and check seasonal opening hours, please go to the 'Visit' channel at www.firstsite.uk.net
|Season Dates||Opening Hours|
|Notes||Exhibition Spaces and Shop
10am - 5pm Monday - Sunday
ContactFront of House
Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH
Map reference: TL 999252 Lat: 51.88968 Long: 0.90477
Follow signs to the Town Centre.
Accessible by Public Transport : Colchester Town station
Also at this venue
Events at this venue
Self-assessed accessibility details
- Designated parking for guests with disabilities
- Within 50 metres approx. of entrance
- The surface of the car park and pathway leading to entrance:
- is solid
- Drop-off point for guests outside entrance
- The route from the parking area to the entrance:
- Is flat (i.e. without steps)
- Entrance is well lit
- Automatic door at the main entrance
- Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
- From the entrance to reception / ticket area
- To a specially adapted public toilet suitable for wheelchair users
- To the gift shop
- Good contrast between the floor and walls
- Contrast markings on clear surfaces such as glass doors
- Baby changing facilities
- Visitor information available in large print (14pt and over)
- Hearing loop installed in public areas
- Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift to cafeteria
- Good contrast between the floor and walls
- Restaurant / cafe provide meals for visitors with special dietary requirements:
- Sugar free (diabetic)
- Gluten free (coeliacs)
- Lactose free (dairy free)
- Nut free
- Additive free
- Seating suitable for wheelchair users, ie moveable and good height for person sitting in a wheelchair
- High chairs for children
- Children's menu
- Seating available for visitors with limited mobility
- Clear signage
- Effective lighting for visually impaired visitors
- Good colour/tonal contrast for visually impaired visitors
- Routes/pathways suitable for wheelchair users or visitors with limited mobility
- Displays at suitable height for wheelchair users / children
- Audible alarm system