This page gives advice on what activities require a licence and
exemptions activity under the Licensing Act. Broadly it falls into
three parts, alcohol or late night refreshment or entertainment (or
any combination of these).
Any retail sale of alcohol requires a licence (selling liqueur
chocolates does not require a licence although they may not be sold
to under 16s.)
The supply of alcohol by a club or to a member of a club
requires that the club must have a Club Registration Certificate.
Only qualifying clubs that are suitably constituted, such as
working men's clubs, can make use of such certificates. (see
Club Premises Certificates)
If you include alcohol as part of a ticket price (e.g. cheese
and wine), this is still a retail sale.
Late Night Refreshment
The provision of late night refreshment means the supply of hot
food or drink, between 11.00pm and 5.00am to members of the public
either on or from any premises for consumption either on or off the
premises. Hot means that it has been heated to above ambient
temperature or that, after it has been sold, it can be heated on
the premises. This means that any restaurant, pub, snack bar, chip
shop, 24 hour supermarket, etc supplying hot food after 11.00 pm
needs a Premises Licence.
- where hot food or drink is supplied to members of recognised
- someone staying at a hotel or guest house etc; by an employer
to employees; or guests of the above;
- drinks (not food) from vending machines; free food or drink;
food or drink supplied by registered charities.
Regulated entertainment includes any of the following:
- the performance of a play (this means any piece where a
dramatic role is acted out);
- an exhibition of a film (this means any display of moving
- an indoor sporting event;
- boxing or wrestling entertainment;
- a performance of live music;
- any playing of recorded music;
- a performance of dance;
- or entertainment of a similar description to live music,
recorded music or dance.
(Note: The entertainment must take place in the presence of an
audience - however small).
Entertainment facilities are those for people to enable them to
take part in an entertainment of the following sort:
- making music;
- dancing; and
- entertainment of a similar description to making music or
(Note: "Entertainment facilities" are, for example, a dance floor
provided for customers to use, or the provision of musical
Entertainment for an audience and/or for
For the entertainment or the entertainment facilities to be
regulated they must be provided for the public or members of a club
(and their guests) or for consideration and with a view to profit.
This means that the provision of music or the performance of a play
to either the public, members of a qualifying club (e.g. Working
Mens Club etc.), or members of an association, (e.g. a Parent
Teacher Association) where an entrance fee is paid to raise funds,
are all licensable activities.
(Note: The provision of dance lessons is not be considered
licensable, but a demonstration of students abilities to the public
or to members of a qualifying club would be considered
- Films shown in museums or art galleries as part of an exhibit,
or for the purposes of advertisement or education;
- Music, provided it is incidental to a non-licensable activity
e.g. a fashion show;
- Showing live television programmes;
- Entertainment, such as music or a play as part of a religious
meeting or service or at a place of public religious worship (e.g.
nativity plays during a service anywhere, choral works or a play in
a church even where not part of a service);
- Garden fetes;
- Morris dancing (or similar) or a performance of unamplified
live music as an integral part of such dancing; or
- Regulated entertainment provided on vehicles in motion (e.g.
Where the public are not invited to an entertainment but a
charge is made to a private audience (like family and friends) just
to cover costs - and not to make a profit - then a licence will not
be required. The same would apply where anyone invited to a private
performance was not charged for attending the event but was free to
make a voluntary donation to a charity.
The playing of recorded music that is incidental to other
activities that are not themselves the provision of regulated
entertainment will be exempt. A jukebox in a pub will not
necessarily have to be authorised unless, for instance, a dance
floor is also provided or it is not incidental. A Disc Jockey
playing to a public audience would amount to regulated
entertainment and would therefore need to be authorised.
Games commonly played in pubs like pool or darts would not
necessarily need to be authorised under the licence as they are not
generally played for the entertainment of spectators. However, if a
darts exhibition match or championship were staged for spectators,
that would be regulated entertainment.
If a circus or pleasure fair provides regulated entertainment a
premises licence or a temporary event notice will be