How much does a funeral cost in the UK?

Posted: 27/09/2017

The cost of a funeral is the last thing anyone wants to have to think about once a loved one has passed away. However, it is something that needs to be thought about, so to save you time and energy, all the information you need is right here.

The costs of a funeral can vary widely between factors such as your location, the circumstances that caused the death and the individual requirements you have for the funeral for your loved one.

You may actually be eligible for financial help for funeral costs, so make sure to inquire about this as this can make a huge difference.

For a traditional burial and a funeral, the average cost will probably come in at around £4,257. Alternatively, the cost of a funeral with cremation on average will be £3,311. These prices are according to the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2017. However, these will obviously vary depending on your individual choices and circumstances, these are simply estimates and averages to give you an idea of the costs.

There are three main areas to consider when working out how much a funeral will cost and these are:

  • The funeral director fees
  • Third-party costs, such as the costs of cremation or burial, transport, venue booking, gravesites, ceremony costs, any catering for the wake etc.
  • Local authority fees

So, let’s go through each of these categories in more detail to help you think about what money needs to go where and on what.

The funeral director’s fees

It is extremely valuable to invest in the support and experience of a registered funeral director, this really should not be pushed to the side or underestimated. The average cost of an experienced funeral director is around £2,500, and this will include the cost of the coffin, the hearse vehicle, collection and care of the deceased and officiating of the ceremony. See Association of Funeral Directors for more information.

The role of a funeral director is to manage and arrange all the details of a funeral. They work mainly in funeral homes and crematories. The type of things that they assist with are the following:

  • Arrange the transportation of the deceased
  • Prepare the remains (of the body)
  • Consult with the family of the deceased
  • Handle and submit all the paperwork and legal documents, including registering the death
  • Help with planning the funeral in general
  • Dealing with the deceased’s personal affairs and estate.

It is advised to go with a funeral director as doing all of these things yourself can be extremely stressful as well as upsetting, which is not what you need at a time such as this.

The third-party costs

As discussed, funeral directors can effectively alleviate the stress and upset surrounding funeral planning and preparation. The services which a funeral director will offer vary from each provider. Most, however, will offer assistant with the third-party arrangements like the burial or cremation aspects, transport, memorials, booking the venue and much more.

The cost of burial:

You may wish to choose the method of burial for your loved one. It is true that getting exclusive burial rights within a cemetery can vary between around £870 to £7,200 depending on a variety of factors such as the high levels of demands in UK gravesites, which will drive the price up.

In addition, there are more desirable spots in a cemetery than others. All grave sites, for example, being located next to a path or in a more secluded and peaceful area of the cemetery are more highly valued and therefore cost a lot more.

The cost of cremation:

In general, cremation is a less expensive option as opposed to the method of burial. It is also statistically the preferable option with 3 out of 4 people in the UK choosing cremation over burial.

Depending on your location in the United Kingdom, a crematorium can charge from £500 to £900 in cremation costs. The costs also vary on the time of day you are having the cremation down, with the cost being lower for times which are less in demand, such as the early mornings.

The crematorium will offer you a plastic urn to keep the ashes in. However, you may, like may other, wish to choose your own urn if you are wanting to keep the ashes of your loved one at home.

Similarly, if you are wanting to bury the ashes, caskets which are made specifically for this are available. You can buy an ashes gravesite in a cemetery with a two-person capacity for a 50-year period for between £100 to £1,700. This again depends on a variety of factors which may drive up the price. You can also purchase a plot of land accommodating the cremated remains of up to four people.

If you wish to scatter the ashes, this may also come with a fee if you wish to do so within a cemetery or over an existing grave.

Other costs:

  • A coffin or casket – this can vary hugely and can be a massive expense depending on material and craftsmanship
  • Funeral home facilities
  • Presentation of your loved one
  • Hearse/limousines
  • Administration charges
  • Hiring staff for the funeral itself
  • Flowers for the funeral
  • A funeral celebrant to perform the service
  • Catering for the wake
  • Venue hire for the wake (some people chose to do this at home)
  • Doctor’s fees for death certification
  • Order sheets



Source: MoneyAdviceService

Local authority fees

Two certificates need to be issued before any cremation can take place. These are the certificate of a medical attendant and the Confirmatory Medical Certificate. Each of these forms needs to be certified by a different doctor. In general, this costs about £82 per document, under the guidelines which are set out by the 2015 British Medical Association.

However, this can occasionally vary.

It is rare that a voluntary post-mortem examination will be carried out by a hospital, however, when or if this does happen, the result will be that the bereaved only pays for one of these fees.

The cost of a death certificate is only £4 in England and Wales, and £8 in Northern Ireland and £10 in Scotland, if purchased at the same time you register the death. The cost of a death certificate will increase if you order it at a later date.

If you are concerned about not being able to cope with or afford a funeral for your loved one, there are plenty of means by which you can get help, one of which is a prepaid funeral plan.