Licence summary

You need a licence from us to run:

  • shops selling sex toys, books or videos

  • sexual entertainment venues such as lap-dancing clubs and strip shows

  • venues where sexually explicit films are shown to members of the public.

A licence lasts for one year.

What happens if I don't apply for a licence?

You can be fined up to £20,000 if you run a sex establishment without a licence, or if you break any of the conditions of your licence

Are there any restrictions?

Licences will be refused if you:

  • are under 18 years old

  • have been disqualified from holding a licence

  • have not been resident in the UK for at least six months immediately before you make your application

  • are not incorporated in the UK, where the applicant is a company

  • have been refused a licence or a licence renewal within the last 12 months.

How do I apply?

Complete the application form and pay the fee online. You will also need to:

  • give public notice of your application by publishing a notice in a local newspaper within seven days of the application being made and

  • display a notice, which can be easily read by the public, on or near the premises for 21 days from the date of the application.

Apply for a Licence Online


The licence application fee is £2,824.

Does tacit consent apply?

No. This means you must obtain a licence before operating a sex establishment. Please contact us if you have not heard from us within a reasonable period


There is a right of appeal to the Magistrates’ Court for a period of 21 days.

Consumer complaints

We advise that consumer complaints are first made to the trader, preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that does not work, further advice is available from Citizens Advice.