You must not begin operating a sex establishment until your application for a licence is granted.

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Who can use this service

The definition of sex establishment includes:

  • sex cinemas, at which R18-certificate films can be shown
  • sex shops, which are premises, vehicles or stalls used for selling, displaying or demonstrating sex articles (which may include R18-certificate videos and DVDs) or other things used in connection with sexual activity or acts of force or restraint associated therewith
  • sexual entertainment venues, which are premises at which entertainment comprising live sexually stimulating performances or displays of nudity is provided in front of an audience, for the financial gain of the organiser or performers. Provision of such entertainment on no more than 11 occasions per year, with at least a calendar month between each occasion, will not require a sex establishment licence.

Applicants for sex establishment licences must be over 18, and not be disqualified from holding a licence (for example, because they have been refused a licence in the previous 12 months, unless that refusal was subsequently overturned on appeal).

Costs for this service

  • Application for a new sex establishment licence: £3,500.
  • Application to renew a current sex establishment licence: £2,500.

What you need to know...

You must also register your sex establishment with the Lambeth food, health and safety team (this is free). Please complete the registration of a food business establishment form

For more information about sex establishment licenses, see our Sex establishment licences - guide.