"Artfund Museum of the Year 2021 - Winner"

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About

Firstsite is Colchester and the East of England's contemporary visual arts gallery. Housed in a spectacular golden building designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, Firstsite is both a gallery and community hub - showcasing a wide variety of impressive artworks from internationally recognised artists to more locally relevant exhibitions. It has an in-house cinema, cafe, and shop as well as meeting room and other spaces for hire. In the heart of the building a Roman Mosaic is permanently installed under glass panels.

Alongside the artwork you will often find special events engaging the local commuity. From drop-in art sessions to full blown festivals. Check out our What's On listings for more details or visit the Firstsite website directly for more details.

In 2021, Firstsite was the winner of the prestigious artfund Museum of the Year Award - the world's largest museum prize, recognising both the quality of its artistic programme and the work it has done with local communities, during both the recent pandemic year and in less unusual times.

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.

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. 

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. 

Arts & Craft Shop

Discover a covetable range of design-led gifts at firstsite's shop, located at the front of the building.

Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Free

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets
  • Facilities for hearing impaired
  • Wheelchairs available

Booking & Payment Details

  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Credit cards accepted (with charge)

Catering

  • On-site catering
  • On-site light refreshments
  • Picnic site

Children

  • Baby changing facilities
  • Children welcome

Groups

  • Education/study area
  • Facilities for educational visits
  • Facilities for groups

Meeting, Conference & Wedding Facilities

  • Facilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitality

Property Facilities

  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Gift shop
  • Public toilets
  • Smoking not allowed

Site Features

  • Regional Tourist Board Member
  • Welcome Host

Target Markets

  • Accepts groups
  • Coach parties accepted

Map & Directions

Colchester

Road Directions

By Road:Follow signs to the Town Centre.Accessible by Public Transport: Colchester Town station is 1 mile away.

Firstsite

Type:Art Gallery

Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH

Tel: 01206 713700

Fax: 01206 577161

Awards

  • Other AwardsSelf-assessed Accessibility Information Self-assessed Accessibility Information 2020
  • Visit EnglandVistEngland VAQAS Gold VistEngland VAQAS Gold 2018
  • Visit BritainWe're Good to Go We're Good to Go 2020

Opening Times

* Monday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm