You’ll need a premises licence if you want to provide licensable activities on a permanent basis. The licensable activities are:

  • selling alcohol
  • serving hot food and drinks between 11pm and 5am

and the following types of entertainment:

  • theatrical performance
  • showing a film
  • indoor sporting event
  • boxing or wrestling (indoor or outdoor)
  • live music
  • recorded music
  • dance

There are certain types of entertainment that you don't need a licence for under the Licensing Act 2003 and please do contact us if you would like further information about this.

You’ll still need a licence even if the activities are for charity.

If you want to carry out licensable activities at an event lasting for less than seven consecutive days that is for less than 499 people you can apply for a temporary event notice.

If you are a qualifying members club then you have the option of applying for a club premises certificate instead of a premises licence.

How to apply

If you want to carry out licensable activities on a permanent basis then you'll need to apply for a premises licence.

When you apply for a premises licence you'll need to name someone who will be the designated premises supervisor (DPS).  This person will be responsible for authorising the alcohol sales at the premises and must hold a personal licence.  There are responsibilities involved with being a DPS.

There will of course be times when the DPS will not be on the premises when alcohol is sold.  We strongly advise that the DPS authorises, in writing, members of staff to sell alcohol.  This authorisation can then be kept on the premises and shown to an authorised officer if asked for.


Anyone who is carrying on or proposing to carry on a business in the premises to which the application relates can apply for a premises licence.

Individual applicants must be aged 18 or over to apply for a licence.

Displaying your licence

You must display the licence summary at your premises where it can be easily seen.

The other pages of the licence should be kept safely at the premises. Police or council officers can ask to inspect them at any time.

Length of licence

Most premises licences have an unlimited duration but you'll have to pay an annual fee. 

Please be aware that a premises licence will become invalid if a licence holder ceases to be entitled to live and work in the UK.  An interim authority notice must be submitted within 28 days in order to reinstate the licence.


Further guidance about premises licences, the effect of the Act and the licensable activities is in our GN1 guide to the Licensing Act 2003.


Licensing Act 2003


If you have an issue with a licensed premises there are different people you should contact depending on the problem.  

Public register

You can view details of existing premises licences and a list of current applications on our licensing public register.