When you need a licence for a market or car boot sale, how much a licence costs and how to apply.

Bristol City Council holds the right to control all markets operated within the city of Bristol.

Any person or organisation wishing to operate a market withing this boundary must apply for a markets licence.

You need to submit a licence application to hold a market or will be subject to legal action described within the Council's Market Charter Policy.

Market definition 

A market is a concourse of buyers and sellers, this means the public are entitled to attend market events to buy and sell.

The term market includes but is not limited to events such as car boot sales, antique and craft markets, general markets, farmers markets, street food markets and charity markets.

The market licence

A licence is for up to 50 trading spaces. We may grant a licence for more spaces in special circumstances. 

You still need a market license if:

  • you have already received other permissions for the market such as a Temporary Event Notice (TENs), planning consent, or agreement to use a premises
  • the market is to be held on private or public land, indoors or outdoors
  • the proceeds are solely or principally for the benefit of a charity or other beneficiary
  • the market is part of a wider event

You can apply if you're:

  • an individual
  • a charity
  • an organisation, such as a school
  • a private company

You can apply for a licence for up to 14 markets or car boot sales in 12 months. If you want to set up a regular market, email markets@bristol.gov.uk.

You must apply for a licence at least 28 days before the date of the market or car boot sale.

Renew the licence

You must renew your licence before each financial year 1 April to 31 March.

Before you apply

Before you apply, you'll need to read the:

Before you apply, you must get written permission from the person who owns the site where you want to hold your market or car boot sale.


An administration fee of £30 is required to be paid for all licence applications in addition to the below fees:

Commercial market or car boot sale licence

The additional fee for a commercial market or car boot sale licence is:

  • £3 per trading space

Charitable market licence

The additional fee for a charitable market licence is:

  • £1.50 per trading space  

You'll need to tell us which charity or organisation you're fundraising for. Also the:

  • chartitable market must be operated on a non-profit making basis to assist a charity
  • operator must provide evidence that at least 80% of the proceeds are donated to a charitable cause with a valid charity number

How to pay

We'll tell you how to pay when we tell you if your application is approved.

Apply for a market or car boot sale licence

You must upload a copy of the:

  • site plan, showing the layout of the car boot sale or market and its entry and exit points: the Health and Safety Executive website has further guidance
  • traffic plan, showing how the possible impact on the roads and to traffic 
  • operational plan, including a production schedule and risk assessments
  • insurance document showing third party public liability cover of at least £5 million

Apply for a market or car boot sale licence

If you want to sell at a market or car boot sale

You don't need a licence to sell at a market or car boot sale. You need to apply to the organiser for a stall.

Food businesses must be registered with their local council.

You can't sell alcohol unless the venue or event has a licence, you should check this with the organisers. 

You can only sell second hand or surplus household goods at car boot sales. You can't sell things you've bought to resell. 

Contact information

Market Office

The Glass Arcade, Markets Office
St Nicholas Market
Bristol, BS1 1JQ

Contact details

Email: markets@bristol.gov.uk
Tel: 0117 922 4014