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Direct Cremation in the UK

Direct cremation is the most affordable funeral option available in the UK. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice, with 14% (up from 3% in 2019) of people describing the funeral they arranged in 2020 as a direct cremation in a recent report*.

Read on to learn more about direct cremation.

In this guide:

What is a direct cremation?
How does a direct cremation work?
How much does a direct cremation cost?
Can you attend a direct cremation?
How to choose a quality direct cremation provider
Why choose direct cremation?
How to arrange a direct cremation with Simplicity
Direct cremation funeral plans


What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation, also referred to as a cremation without ceremony or Unattended Funeral, is a cremation with no funeral service performed beforehand, and without any mourners in attendance at the crematorium.

As a direct cremation does not include a funeral service, it allows you to choose your own way to remember your loved one at a place and time that suits you.


How does a direct cremation work?

A direct cremation takes place without a funeral service or ceremony at the crematorium, and without the attendance of any mourners. The direct nature of this service also means that there is no embalming and no opportunity to view the deceased. Here’s how a direct cremation works:

• The deceased is collected from the place of rest a few days prior to cremation
• They are cared for and prepared for cremation at our professional mortuary facilities
• The family completes the paperwork required for the cremation to go ahead. At Simplicity, we provide assistance to our clients with this.
• On the day of the cremation, we will transport them to the crematorium in a specialised funeral vehicle
• The cremation will take place at a CMG crematorium local to the place of rest, at a time and place of our choice. We’ll let you know when the cremation has taken place.
• The ashes will be scattered in our gardens of remembrance or can be returned to the family upon request, at an additional cost.

If you are planning a memorial service with the ashes present, please allow up to 4 weeks for the return of ashes.


How much does a direct cremation cost?

Direct cremation is one of the most affordable funeral options available in the UK, costing considerably less than the average traditional funeral you’d arrange with the assistance of a Funeral Director. As a direct cremation is undertaken without any mourners, there’s no need to spend money on flowers, limousines or other extras that increase the overall costs.

At Simplicity, we refer to our direct cremation package as an Unattended Funeral, which costs from £995.

Visit our direct cremation costs page for more information about pricing and for details on what our direct cremation package includes.


Can you attend a direct cremation?

You cannot attend a direct cremation, as it does not offer any kind of funeral service or the presence of a minister or officiant, and therefore takes place without the presence of any mourners.

If you’d prefer a funeral with the option for family and friends to attend, you may find our Intimate Funeral (a small funeral for up to 12 people) or Family Led Funeral (full capacity at the crematorium with a family led funeral service) will suit your needs better.


How to choose a quality direct cremation provider

We recommend selecting a reputable direct cremation provider with the relevant knowledge, experience and facilities to carry out a respectful funeral for your loved one. Just because a direct cremation is low cost funeral option, it should not mean substandard care.

As part of one of the UK’s largest funeral groups, we’re the only nationwide direct cremation service provider that has its own staff, vehicles, mortuaries and crematoriums. Our network of facilities ensures a consistently high quality of care, teamed with decades of experience in conducting funerals.

When someone close to you dies, it can be an extremely stressful and emotional time. At Simplicity, we are dedicated to supporting people through what can be a difficult time. From the moment we collect your loved one from their place of rest to the moment the ashes are scattered in our gardens of remembrance or returned to you, every stage of the process is carried out with the utmost care.

See our reviews to see what our clients have to say about our service.


Reasons for choosing a direct cremation

There are several reasons why an increasing number of people are choosing a direct cremation, for their own or a loved one’s funeral.

A direct cremation is significantly cheaper than the average funeral arranged by a funeral director, so for many people their decision is financially based, often because their loved one did not see the value in a traditional funeral and they would prefer to leave money for their family to contribute towards happier times.  The low cost of this funeral option is not the only reason families choose direct cremation, however.

Other reasons families choose a direct cremation include:

• Their loved one expressed their wishes for a low key funeral
• Their loved one did not wish for a funeral with a religious ceremony
• The deceased had a small family / no family, so there is no one to attend a funeral
• Family or friends of the deceased live far away so would be unable to attend a funeral at short notice
• You want to hold a separate memorial service or celebration of life at a different time and place away from the crematorium
• Their loved one felt uncomfortable attending funerals during your own lifetime, so do not want their family to experience this at their funeral in the future

Whatever your reason for choosing direct cremation, we will guide you through the entire arrangement process.


How to arrange a direct cremation with Simplicity

Arranging a direct cremation with Simplicity is a simple, straightforward process.

Unlike arranging a traditional funeral, you will not have to visit a funeral home or spend hours face to face with a Funeral Director. Simply call us to begin the process of arranging a direct cremation for your loved one. You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Most of the arrangements can be made over the telephone by our expert team of funeral arrangers. We will take the details we need to arrange the funeral for your loved one, and keep you informed every step of the way.

If you would like to have more involvement in the arrangement process, or the opportunity to attend the funeral, our Intimate or Family Led Funeral may be more suitable for you needs.


Direct cremation funeral plans

If you like the sound of a direct cremation for yourself in the future, you may be interested in a direct cremation funeral plan.

Not only will a direct cremation plan allow you to freeze the cost of your funeral at today’s price, it will also alleviate your family from the stressful task of making your funeral arrangements when the time comes. They will simply need to call us, and we will set the funeral plan into motion.

If you do not feel ready to purchase a direct cremation funeral plan, you may wish to share your funeral wishes with a member of your family. This will let them know what you’d like when the time comes but doesn’t require any payment or arrangements.

Learn more about our funeral plans


To arrange a direct cremation for a loved one, or to plan ahead for your own direct cremation funeral in the future, contact us to talk to one of our friendly professionals. Alternatively, download our free brochure today.


* SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report,

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