How much does a funeral cost in the UK – and how can you make arrangements with a tight budget?
Not to worry. Here you’ll find a breakdown of all the fees that make up the final cost of a funeral. We also have tips on savings, information on the most expensive places to be buried or cremated in the UK, and a handy funeral costs calculator to show you what the average price is in your area. Let’s begin …

How much does the average funeral cost in the UK?

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,596 for a cremation and £4,561 for a burial. These prices are based on the funeral director’s fee, burial or cremation costs, medical fees and the cost of a minister or celebrant.

But that’s not the whole story: there are many things that can make a big difference to the cost of a funeral, from where you are in the country to who your funeral director is.

In fact, the average cost of a funeral booked through Beyond is £2,048: you can save a lot of money simply by comparing funeral prices online. If you’d like, you can start a search now – or you can read on for a full breakdown of funeral costs:

Interested in the average cost of a funeral in your area? Click here for our funeral cost calculator.

 

Cremation costs

A large portion of the overall cost of a funeral – typically around a third to a half of the total – will be the cremation or cemetery fee. This fee is set by the owner of the cemetery or crematorium.

So, what is the average cost of a funeral with a cremation?

In the UK, the average cost of a cremation is £753. This makes cremation about 27% less expensive than burial, with the total average cost of a funeral with a cremation coming in at £3,596.

In addition to the standard crematorium fees, there are a few additional cremation costs to consider:

  • Cost of a cremation urn: between £50 and £300, depending on the urn you choose.
  • Doctors’ fees for cremation forms: £164, or £0 if you’re in Scotland.
  • Cost to bury ashes in a cemetery (if you wish): Between £100 and £1,700.

The most expensive places to be cremated in the UK

Every year, Beyond collects price lists from every cemetery and crematorium in the UK to update our price comparison tool.

In our 2017 sweep of cremation costs, we found that the five most expensive crematoria in the UK were all owned by the same company, Dignity Plc. All were charging £999 for a cremation:

Crematorium Owner/Authority Location Price
Beckenham Dignity PLC London £999
Surrey & Sussex Dignity PLC Crawley £999
Randalls Park Dignity PLC Leatherhead £999
Heart of England Dignity PLC Nuneaton £999
Moray Dignity PLC Moray £999

The least expensive crematorium in the UK charges £490 – that’s South West Middlesex Crematorium. Meanwhile, the biggest increase in crematorium costs was recorded in Cheltenham, with a 32% rise:

Crematorium Owner/Authority Location % Difference from 2016
Cheltenham Cheltenham Borough Council Cheltenham +32.2%
Thorncliffe Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council Barrow-in-Furness +29.9%
South Essex London Borough of Havering Upminster +26.9%
City Road Sheffield City Council Sheffield +19.4%
Hutcliffe Wood Sheffield City Council Sheffield +19.4%

How to save on cremation costs

  • Choose direct cremation. In response to rising funeral costs, many crematoria now offer a less expensive option called ‘direct cremation’. This is a simple cremation without a service, usually taking place at a time chosen by the crematorium. The average cost of a funeral with a direct cremation is £1,835.
  • Pick a less-popular time. You can also save by having the cremation early in the morning, or on a week day.
  • Check if there’s a charge to scatter in a cemetery or memorial garden. While some cemeteries and crematoria allow visitors to scatter ashes for free, others require payment.
  • Compare crematoriums. You can compare crematorium prices in your area here.

Not interested in burial costs? Skip ahead to funeral director fees here.

 

Burial costs

The total cost of a burial is made up of two separate fees: the interment, or ‘digging’ fee; and the Exclusive Right of Burial, which is the fee paid to the owner of the cemetery to lease the land.

In the UK, the average cost of a burial is £1,792, a considerable amount more than the cost of a cremation. The overall average cost of a funeral with a burial is £4,561.

Aside from cemetery fees, you might also want to consider:

  • Cost of a headstone: £916
  • Maintenance of the grave: around £40 for lawn moving and general tidying, £150+ for professional headstone cleaning.

The most expensive places to be buried in the UK

In Beyond’s 2017 review of burial fees across the UK, we found out that the most expensive place to be buried in the UK is Highgate Cemetery in London, which charges an incredible £18,325:

Cemetery Owner/Authority Location Price
Highgate Cemetery Highgate Cemetery Charity London £18,325
Fulham Palace Road Cemetery London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham London £12,464
Margravine Cemetery London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham London £12,464
Kensal Green Cemetery The General Cemetery Company London £12,225
Tottenham Cemetery Dignity PLC London £8,174

Meanwhile, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in Ireland charge £261 in burial costs across three of their cemeteries. The largest increases in fees were seen in the following places:

Cemetery Owner/Authority Location % Difference from 2016
Clandon Wood Natural Burial Ground Clandon Wood Natural Burial Ground Guildford +68.3%
North Watford Cemetery Watford Borough Council Watford +49.1%
Monkshill Cemetery Newry, Mourne & Down District Council Newry +41.1%
Upper Dromore Road Cemetery Newry, Mourne & Down District Council Newry +41.1%
Kilbroney Road Cemetery Newry, Mourne & Down District Council Rostrevor +41.1%

How to save on burial costs

  • Go green. Natural or woodland burials can work out less expensive, with the Woodland Burial Trust citing an £800 burial fee (not including the digging fee).
  • Stay close to home. Cemeteries usually charge those who aren’t parishioners higher burial fees.
  • Pick a less-popular time. As with cremation, burial costs in the UK are often lower on weekdays.
  • Choose a private burial. Believe it or not, it’s perfectly legal to skip the burial fees altogether and bury someone on private land, so long as you have the permission of the land owner. It’s also a good idea to consult the local authority as well, although opinions are divided on whether this is strictly necessary. You can find out more about DIY burials at the Natural Death Centre.

 

Funeral director fees

Your funeral director’s fees will cover the cost of collecting the person who has died, care and preparation of the deceased ahead of the burial or cremation, and the overall organisation of the funeral.

The costs for funeral services can vary quite a bit, even in the same town. It’s a good idea to get quotes from two or three businesses to find a good fit. You don’t have to visit the funeral home, either: you can compare funeral director prices and reviews online for free here.

Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest funeral costs, it’s a good idea to go with an independent funeral director rather than one of the larger chains. On average, we’ve found that independents are about 36% less expensive than the national average. You can see if a funeral director is independent on their Beyond profile.

 

Other third-party funeral costs

Also known as ‘disbursements’, third-party funeral costs cover all the arrangements that aren’t provided by funeral directors themselves. Both cremation and burial fees are considered disbursements, as are flowers, transport, venue fees, order sheets and memorial stones.

It’s worth noting that when funeral directors provide quotes, these additional costs aren’t always included. Depending on the scale of the arrangements, disbursements can add an additional £800 to £2,500 on to the cost of a funeral.

On average, people in the UK spend £1,928 on funeral disbursement fees. To break it down, here’s the average amount spent on:

  • Funeral flowers: £149
  • Additional limo hire: £319
  • Catering: £444
  • Venue for the wake: £397
  • Funeral notice: £85
  • Obituary: £72
  • Memorial stones: £916
  • Order sheets: £63

 

Fees for paperwork

There are a few official documents you might need to pay for in order to arrange a funeral. These are:

The death certificate. This is given to you by the registry office when you register the death. It’s a good idea to get a few copies. If you buy them when you register the death, these will cost £4 each in England and Wales, £10 if you’re in Scotland and £8 in Northern Ireland.

Doctors’ fees for cremation forms: These are often referred to as cremation forms 4 and 5. The first is signed by the doctor who was caring for the person who has died at the time of their death, and the second is signed by an unrelated doctor to confirm. They essentially record the medical details of the death and confirm that cremation can go ahead. Each form usually costs £82 each.

 

How much does a funeral cost in your area?

Funeral costs in the UK vary a lot depending on where you are. The most expensive location is (as you might have guessed) London, where the average funeral costs £5,951. The least expensive is Northern Ireland, at £2,982.

So, how much is the average funeral in your area? Try our funeral costs calculator to see how much you can expect to pay:

 

Need help with funeral costs?

If you’re worried about covering the cost of a funeral, there are a number of ways you can get help, from government assistance to charitable grants. You can find out more about your options in our guide, ‘How to get help with funeral costs’.

 

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