Sunday trading licences

All shops are able to open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday.

Restrictions on opening times on Sundays are now confined to large shops (having an internal sales area of over 280sq.m).

The critical consideration is the floor area definition, which is clarified as meaning the part of the shop within a building that is used for display of goods and customer services.

Large shops must:

  • specify the six hours of trading on a Sunday which must be between the hours of 10am to 6pm and
  • provide a sign visible both internally and externally specifying the times of trading.
  • remain closed on Easter Sunday (and on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday).

Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely.

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 also includes specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.

Apart from the restrictions mentioned above, it is left to individual owners to determine their opening hours in the light of customer demand.

Notice to operate on Sunday

Large shops in England and Wales are no longer required to give prior written notification to the local authority of their Sunday opening hours or change in these hours


The following shops (both large and small) are exempt from requiring register with their local authority:

  • public house
  • off licenses and take away food shops
  • chemist/pharmacies
  • airport shops
  • shops in railway station
  • service areas and petrol filling stations
  • motor accessory shops
  • farm shops
  • exhibit stands.

Further Information