How much does a funeral cost?
The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £4,184*.
The average cost of a funeral is for a basic funeral arranged by a Funeral Director and includes the cost of the burial or cremation itself, the doctor’s certificate and a minister or officiant.
The overall cost of a funeral will vary depending on where in the UK it will take place, whether you choose a burial or cremation and any extra elements you choose to include.
At Simplicity, we offer funerals from just £995, throughout the whole of mainland Great Britain.
Average funeral costs in the UK
The average funeral cost in the UK is currently £4,184* (up 1.7% from 2019). Funeral costs will vary depending on the type of funeral you choose:
- The average cost of a burial funeral is £5,033
- The average cost of a cremation funeral is £3,885
These costs include the funeral directors’ fees, doctor’s fees, clergy/officiate fees and the burial or cremation fees.
The final cost of a funeral is largely dependent on where it will take place, the type of funeral arrangements that you choose to make and any extras such as venue hire for a wake and floral tributes.
Breakdown of average funeral costs
Funeral Director fees
Most funerals in the UK are arranged by a Funeral Director. Funeral Directors’ fees are often the most expensive part of a funeral, although these fees will often cover several aspects of the funeral arrangements. Exactly what is included will depend on the Funeral Director and the funeral package you choose.
However, Funeral Director fees will typically cover:
- Funeral arrangements including assisting with the completion of paperwork required for the funeral to proceed and liaison with third parties,
- Collection of the deceased from their place of rest
- Care of the deceased and preparation for the funeral in their mortuary facilities
- Provision of a coffin or casket
- A hearse and a limousine for the family
- Provision of necessary personnel (ie. Pallbearers to carry the coffin)
Third party funeral costs
Third-party costs, also referred to as disbursements, are additional charges that must be paid to a third party for certain aspects of the funeral.
If a Funeral Director is arranging the funeral, they will often manage these fees for you. Unlike the rest of the bill which is often presented after the funeral has taken place, these third-party costs may need to be paid before the funeral.
The costs that apply will vary depending on where you live and whether you choose burial or cremation for your loved one:
The average cost of a basic burial funeral is £5,033 in the UK. Burial funeral costs will vary across the UK and usually comprise:
- The exclusive right of burial (EROB) - This is the physical space itself, also referred to as the burial plot. The cost of the burial plot will depend on the cemetery, location within it and the type of plot. A standard, single-depth plot can cost anything from a few hundred pounds in rural areas to thousands of pounds in major cities.
- The interment – The fee for the preparation of the burial plot
- The fee to add or remove headstone - If a burial plot has a headstone then it will have been removed to allow for the funeral to take place. This will also cover the cost of placing the headstone back on the grave
- Maintenance fees – Local councils will often charge maintenance fees, covering tasks such as grass cutting and insurance for the burial plot
- Church fees – Third-party fees may apply if you are holding the funeral service in a place of worship
- Minister or Officiant fee - The person conducting the funeral service
In 2020, 74% of funerals in the UK were cremations. The average cremation costs £3,885 in the UK, making this a cheaper option than a burial.
Like burial, the costs of a cremation can vary from region to region. Cremation costs usually include:
- Cremation fees – The cost of cremating a loved one at a local crematorium
- Cremation document fees – Forms for applying for a cremation
- Interment of ashes – The cost that will apply if you like to keep the ashes in a permanent place such as a burial plot
- Scattering ashes – The cost of scattering the ashes in the crematorium's Garden of Remembrance
- Minister or Officiant fee - The person conducting the funeral service
- Doctor’s fees** - These charges are for the cremation certificates
**Doctor’s fees are due to the stricter guidelines and medical checks involved for clearing a body for cremation. In total, doctor’s fees cost £164. These fees are not applicable in all cases, for example, if the death is referred to the coroner, there is no need to pay for the forms to be signed. There is also no charge for doctor’s fees for any deaths registered in Scotland.
Please note, this process has been revised to reflect the temporary changes to the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008 provided for in the Coronavirus Act 2020 which came into force on 26 March 2020. The requirement for the Confirmatory Medical Certificate (Form CR5) has been temporarily removed. The amended Regulations and revised guidance will be in force until further notice.
Optional funeral costs
Optional funeral costs are those elements that are often included on top of the cost of a basic funeral.
Some people choose to pay for additional services for the ceremony, venue hire and catering for the wake, funeral flowers and additional limousines for family members. The SunLife Cost of Dying Report found these ‘send-off costs’ to cost on average an additional £2,532, bringing average funeral costs to a total of almost £7,000.
Optional funeral costs may include:
Optional funeral cost
Order sheets/service cards
These elements are completely optional; you shouldn’t feel pressured into choosing anything that doesn’t fit your budget. You should think carefully about which of these elements are important to you, as the costs will soon add up. If you do feel these are needed, you should shop around to find the best cost.
How to reduce funeral costs
At Simplicity, we offer funerals from just £995
At Simplicity, we arrange respectful, compassionate and dignified funerals, without the high price tag associated with the average traditional funeral. We can help you to reduce funeral costs by up to 76% vs the average basic funeral*.
We specialise in providing affordable funerals without the ceremonial excess often included as part of a traditional funeral. We’ve removed many of the more expensive elements such as a hearse, limousines and a team of pallbearers, allowing us to provide our simple funeral services for considerably less than the average cost of a funeral.
All of our funerals are arranged over the telephone, by our team of expert funeral arrangers, without the services of a traditional Funeral Director. We’ll take care of the essential elements of a cremation, giving you the freedom to arrange a fitting farewell for your loved, whether this is at the crematorium or at a time and location completely separate from the cremation.
Our funeral costs include cremation fees, doctor’s fees, provision of a simple coffin, transportation in a specialised funeral vehicle and care at one of our mortuaries.
Unlike most funerals, the cost of our funerals remains the same regardless of where in mainland Great Britain you live. Choose from one of our simple funeral options:
Direct cremation is the most affordable funeral option available in the UK. This involves a cremation without a service or procession beforehand, without any mourners present. At Simplicity, we offer a direct cremation service from £995.
Short, basic, small family funerals
We also offer two affordable funeral options that allow you the option to attend the crematorium. Our Intimate Funeral allows a short funeral for up to 12 people to attend. As well as the low cost of this funeral, it is the ideal way to say goodbye to a loved one who did not want a fuss when after their passing.
Simple funerals with a family-led service
If you would prefer the option for a larger group of attendees at the funeral, our Attended Funeral provides a full-length service in the cremation with a family-led ceremony. This funeral closely resembles what people may expect from a traditional funeral, but without the ceremonial excess and need for a traditional Funeral Director on the day of the cremation.
Our expert team of telephone-based funeral arrangers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Can I get help with funeral costs?
If you are struggling to cover the cost of a funeral, you may be eligible for help with funeral costs from the government or charities. Find out more about the help with funeral costs that may be available to you.
Pre-planning a funeral to avoid future rises in funeral costs
Funeral costs are rising, in fact, average cremation costs increased between 2011 and 2020 from £2,735 to £3,917, a staggering 43% rise. The fact of the matter is if they continue at the same rate the average UK cremation funeral is projected to hit £5,609** by 2029.
One of the smart ways you can look to protect yourself from rising funeral costs is to consider securing a Funeral Plan. With Simplicity Cremations, a Prepaid Funeral Plan will cover the essential elements for a simple funeral including cremation fees, a simple coffin, collection from the place of rest 24 hours a day and the return of your ashes. Plans start from just £1,495 or as little as £15.97 a month^.
Paying for your funeral in advance means you'll be securing your funeral at today's prices rather than leaving an unexpected bill for family or friends in the future. Not only will you help to take away the financial pressure, but you could also relieve your loved ones of any stress or uncertainty over what you would have wanted.
When the plan is needed, we guarantee to cover the cost of services included in the plan, no matter how much costs may have increased. Your family will also have the freedom to make additional arrangements should they wish.
*SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021
**Matter Communications independent research. 2020-2029 forecast based on average annual compound growth rate of 4.07% each year between 2011 and 2020.
^Instalment figure shown is for a Lily Plan being paid over 120 months. There is an extra charge if you spread the cost over more than 12 months. Alternative fixed instalment periods are available, provided that all payments over any instalment term longer than 12 months are completed by the 80th birthday of the eldest person named on the plan.