Photo: Richard Bryant /
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Firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex. Our mission is to make contemporary art relevant to everyone.

Our integrated programme of work includes projects, exhibitions and publications by established and emerging artists, as well as 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.

Firstsite’s new building was designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. His design was selected by a worldwide architectural competition that attracted more than 100 entries.

The crescent shape was created to wrap around the existing D-shaped garden of East Hill House, leaving intact the established arc of mature trees.

Its low-lying, single-storey design nestles in the landscape, with minimum disruption to Colchester’s historic roofscape.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Exhibition Spaces, shop and MUSA Café Restaurant

Tuesday - Sunday 10am – 5pm

Christmas Eve – open until 2pm

Christmas Day – closed

Boxing Day – closed

Saturday 27 December – open 10am – 5pm

Sunday 28 December – open 10am – 5pm

Monday 29 December – open 10am – 5pm (school holiday opening)

Tuesday 30 December – open 10am – 5pm

New Year’s Eve – open until 2pm

New Year’s Day – closed

Friday 2 January – open 10am – 5pm

Admission charges

Entry is free. Most events are free unless otherwise stated.

firstsite has no permanent collection.

Collection details

Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days: Heritage Walk with Martin Newell

  • 12 September 2015

Guided walk with local pop poet and rock musician Martin Newell. Starting at firstsite the tour will include St James the Great Church, a small section of the Roman Wall near Land Lane, Martin's old band HQ at 90 East Hill (the former Ship Pub), the K6 telephone box outside Greyfriars, the site of the Poll Tax Riot at the Castle Park gates, St Helen's Chapel in Maidenburgh St, St Botolph's Church and Priory, and Colchester Town Station. The tour will finish at firstsite where refreshments will be available.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days: firstsite: Free Family Saturday

  • 12 September 2015

Heritage Paint for Heritage Open Days: Working with a brilliant artist, families will create their own paint with their own hands using techniques that artists have used for centuries.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Lewis Gardens
High Street




01206 577067


+44 (0)1206 577 067

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.