Sex shop and adult cinema licence

To run a sex shop (any premises selling sex toys, books or videos), or a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you may need a licence.

You must:

  • be over 18
  • ensure that no one under 18 works at or visits your premises
  • not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • have been a resident in the UK for the last 6 months, or be an incorporated UK body
  • not have been refused a licence or renewal in the last 12 months, unless the decision was later reversed
  • follow the conditions of your licence, eg regulating your opening hours, shop displays, advertisements and how visible the interior of your shop is from outside

If we decide it would be unreasonable or inappropriate for you to hold a licence, you might be allowed to operate without one.

You can request an exemption when you apply for your licence, or your council might allow you to apply for one separately.

You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t display a copy of your licence and licensing conditions in your premises. If you run a sex shop or cinema without a licence, or if you break any of the conditions of your licence, you could be fined up to £20,000.