Funeral Planning

How much does a funeral cost in the UK?

The total cost of dying is not something many consider before the inevitable. Yet knowing how much a funeral costs can help you organise an affordable final goodbye. So what is the price of funeral packages in the UK?

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How much does a funeral cost in the UK?
  • There are many options for people looking to remove the financial burden of their funeral from loved ones
  • Reducing the cost of a funeral is possible by removing certain traditional elements
  • Over the last decade, there has been a growing trend toward direct cremation
  • Prepaid funerals and basic funerals have reduced the financial burden for loves ones

UK funeral cost: FAQs

  • What is the cheapest type of funeral?

    Direct cremation is the cheapest kind of funeral and has grown in popularity recently. They are a viable alternative to traditional funerals, at less than half the cost of conventional cremations and approaching 70% less than a traditional burial funeral.

  • Is it disrespectful to remove traditional elements of a funeral?

    No. It is essential to recognise that the cost of a funeral does not impact the treatment of the deceased. Funeral directors have a legal duty of care to the dead and industry standards to maintain.

  • Are prepaid funerals protected by law?

    On 29 July 2022, the prepaid funeral industry came under the control of the FCA. Under the new regulations, funds held by regulated parties will be protected, and anyone who loses money will be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

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Conversations around how much a funeral will cost when your loved ones die aren't your typical dinner chitchat. But the cost might come as a surprise for many and make arranging a funeral much more stressful. Knowing standard funeral costs can help you plan for a respectable send-off while reducing the costs. 

The cost of dying report explained 

When talking about money, it’s always worth it to get your terms right to avoid confusion. The annual SunLife Cost of Dying Report lists various figures around funeral expenses. 

The most commonly used term you might hear around funeral arrangements is the ‘cost of dying’. The cost is the total cost of a funeral, including all professional fees, the funeral service, and any optional extras you might have, such as the funeral party or wake. 

In 2022, you paid, on average, £9,200 to say your goodbyes. The price increased by 3.8% from £8,864 in 2021. 

The average cost of a funeral

The situation looks a bit different if you only focus on the cost of the funeral without the extra fees. If we break the costs down into burial costs, cremation costs and the expense of a direct cremation, the prices have declined in all the categories from 2021 to 2022. Overall, the average cost of a funeral in the UK stands at £3,954, a decrease of 2.5% from £4,056 in 2021. 

The breakdown of costs for burial and cremation looks like this:

Type of funeralCost 2020Cost 2021Change
Burial costs£5,033£4,927-2.1%
Cremation costs£3,885£3,765-3.1%
Direct cremation£1,554£1,647+6.0%
Average funeral cost£4,184£4,056-3.1%

Funeral cost in the UK by region

The national trend in the UK is similar, and only two regions - Northern Ireland and Wales - have witnessed a price increase. 

So where do you pay for a funeral the most? It’s not a big surprise that London is the most expensive place to die in the UK, with the average local funeral costing £5,283. 

The following table shows the four most expensive areas of the UK:

RegionCost 2021Change on 2020
South East & East England£4,825-3.6%
Yorkshire and the Humber£4,302+0.7%
East and West Midlands£3,942-12.2%

While death-related expenses increased in Northern Ireland in 2022, the region is still the most affordable place to die. There, the average cost was £3,317 in 2022. 

The four most affordable regions in the UK in 2022 were:

RegionCost 2021Change on 2020
Northern Ireland£3,056-5.2%
North West England£3,840+1.4%
South West England£3,907-6.1%
North East England£3,915+2.3%

Funeral expenses in Scotland remained broadly the same. The average cost decreased by 0.6% to £3,848 in 2022.

Direct cremation costs

Direct cremation is the most affordable choice for your final journey. It is cremation without a funeral service or the opportunity to view the body. Surviving relatives also won't have a say when the cremation occurs, nor can they choose the crematorium. You won't have a wake or a reception as part of the package. 

Traditional cremation

Conventional cremation comes with additional services. You get to:

  • Choose if you want to view the body
  • Pick the coffin
  • Choose the crematorium and the cremation date
  • Have a funeral service
  • Hold a wake or reception on the day of the cremation

The additional extras explain why the cost of a traditional cremation can be almost double that of a direct cremation. 

Burial costs

You will get a lot of flexibility with a burial. The package is similar to traditional cremation, with the difference that the service includes a burial in your chosen lot. 

It’s worth noting that a standard grave can take up to four adult interments. You could be buried with your family at no additional burial plot cost. 

Planning a funeral - burial or cremation?

The type of funeral you choose to have can make a big difference to the overall costs. Part of the reason funeral expenses payments have dipped in the past few years is the trend of choosing direct cremations, which can be thousands of pounds cheaper than a traditional burial. But ultimately, the decision to go with a burial or cremation comes down to your preferences. 

Funeral director costs in your funeral plan

Another big part of the expenses comes from using a funeral director, and the UK has more than 7,000 funeral companies. 

Choosing your funeral director is worth it, as funeral costs can vary between providers, and funeral director's fees can make up 50-66% of the costs. Typically, the use of funeral director means they:

  • Collect, store, prepare and deliver the body to the cemetery or crematorium
  • Provide a coffin, hearse and other transport
  • Fill out the necessary forms for cremation or burial

Breakdown of third-party costs

You can always control the cost of your final journey by considering all the other optional funeral costs. 

Here are other typical third-party costs associated with the overall expenses:

Fixed expenses 

The cost of dying involves many charges you can control but plenty of those you can’t. Fixed expenses upon death include things like:

  • Doctor’s fees
  • Death notice
  • Death certificate
  • Probate fees

No matter what kind of funeral you choose to have, you will need to cover these costs as part of the process. 


A hearse is not the only way to transport a coffin. But many choose to opt for it or have the funeral party transported from the service venue to the wake on a limousine. 

Wake or funeral service

If you want to hold a service to commemorate the deceased's life, you must pay for the venue, the catering, and service personnel. However, you can control some costs by keeping guest figures smaller, holding the wake at your home, or making your food. 

Other costs

Aside from the expected costs, you should also consider things like flowers and service cards. You may also want a funeral notice, and if you don't have enough suitable family members, you may need to hire pallbearers. 

How to pay for a funeral?

With all the different components, the average costs might seem like a lot to deal with. But by learning about the expenses, you’ve already taken the first step to making it more manageable. 

You should shop around and compare prices. First, find out how much you might need to pay by asking for a quote from a few funeral directors. Then, compare the price of any additional costs you wish to have, such as flowers and catering. These can help you pay for the funeral without breaking the bank.

Pay funeral costs with a prepaid funeral plan

Prepaid funerals have become a common option for many. Under such a plan, you can make a single payment or pay in instalments to cover the cost of your funeral. You can take care of the costs upfront, adding a degree of security to your final goodbyes. A prepaid funeral guarantees organising a funeral costs what it would today, so you receive protection against inflation. You can find a list of approved prepaid funeral plan providers from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Use insurance to pay for the funeral

You could also cover the cost of a basic funeral with a life insurance policy. The policy pays out upon death, and your family can use the money to cover expenses. 

Many life insurance policies are linked to stock market investments, and they could struggle to keep pace with the price of funerals. 

How to get help with funeral costs?

The average funeral cost means you can easily end up paying thousands. If you're struggling to pay, you could get help from the following:

  • Local councils or hospitals via Public Health Funeral
  • The government-run Funeral Expenses Scheme
  • Several children’s funeral funds
  • Other local and national charities

In most cases, it helps to arrange the funeral in advance. You can reduce the financial and emotional toll of dealing with finances during this distressing time. 

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral depends on a variety of factors. The current trend has been a slight decrease in overall costs, primarily due to more people choosing the most affordable option. Whatever style of funeral you want, the key is to plan for it. Prepaid funeral arrangements or just saving some money for the inevitability can guarantee you get a funeral of your choice. It'll also save your loved ones some heartache and allows them to grieve in peace.

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