Funeral Costs In The UK: 10 Most Expensive Places To Die
Top 10 Most Expensive Places To Die In The UK. Photo KnowInsiders

How much does it cost to hold a funeral in the UK?

A funeral in the UK currently costs £4,138 on average, depending on the type of service you choose. Cremation is more popular and cheaper, costing £3,885 on average. At £5,033, burials are more expensive; plus there’s the additional cost of the burial plot to consider.

This cost breakdown of a funeral highlights the average price you could expect to pay for a funeral in the UK in 2021. Prices vary depending on the type of funeral, where you live and the services you include:

-Basic funeral costs (funeral director and 3rd party costs) - £4,184

-Additional funeral expenses – £2,532

The average funeral cost has more than doubled in the last 10 years. This now causes 1 in 8 families to go into debt in order to pay for a loved one’s funeral.

During the same period, wages in the UK have risen by just 20%. And despite the public outrage over the cost of housing, petrol and utilities, the average cost of funeral prices has risen at a much higher rate.

What is included in the basic funeral costs in 2021/2022?

1. Funeral director’s costs in the UK currently average £2,687

The funeral director’s costs include collection and care of the deceased, administration, viewing, the coffin, hearse, funeral cars for family and services on the day. The funeral director will also liaise with third parties and provide support for the family throughout the process.

2. Third party funeral costs

Third party funeral costs comprise of those essential services not provided by the funeral director. This includes the cremation or burial fees, the minister or celebrant’s fees (which currently average £169) and the doctor’s charges. 'In England and Wales, Doctor's fees may be required for cremations currently costing approximately £164.

What are the additional funeral expenses?

Photo The Guardian
Photo The Guardian

Additional funeral expenses are the services you choose as optional extras to personalise the service such as:

-Memorial - £1,016

-Limousine hire - £336

-Wake, including venue hire and catering - £450

-Order of service - £94

-Flowers - £193

-Death notices - £75

-Funeral costs by UK region

The cost of a funeral varies throughout the UK. As you may expect, London funeral costs are the most expensive, however funeral costs in other regions of the UK have risen at a faster rate.

Where are UK funeral costs the highest?

1.London £5,235 (+3.4%)

2.South East & East of England £5,007 (+9.8%)

3.East and West Midlands £4,488 (+3.9%)

4.Yorkshire and the Humber £4,270 (-3.6%)

Where are UK funeral costs the lowest?

1.Northern Ireland £3,222 (-7.4%)

2.Wales £3,718 (+0.4%)

3.North West England £3,785 (+5.2%)

4.North East England £3,826 (-1.8%)

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UK's ten 'most expensive places to die'

Photo Oxford Mail
Photo Oxford Mail

Figures from research by comparison site, Beyond

1. Watford (£5,814)

2. London (£5,749)

3. Redhill (£5,352)

4. Guildford (£5,317)

5. Liverpool (£5,157)

6. Newport (£5,149)

7. Brighton (£5,013)

8. Halifax (£4,976)

9. Salisbury (£4,959)

10. Aberdeen (£4,942)


Watford has been ranked as the most expensive place to hold a funeral in the UK, according to a study.

Mourners in the Hertfordshire town are paying 37 per cent more to cover the costs of burying a loved one compared to the national average.

Funeral comparison website Beyond said undertakers were "making a killing" in Watford and charging an average of £5,814 - £60 more than a typical ceremony in London.

London was the second most expensive place for funerals, charging an average of £5,749 and Redhill was in third place, charging £5,352, according to the figures.

It said in a statement that came with the findings: "The ‘Watford Gap’ is back and this time it’s because funeral directors seeking to make a killing are charging 37 per cent more than the UK average.

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “A lack of transparency in the funeral market is what’s fuelling price rises, particularly among the big chains.

“Death means big business, with half a million Brits dying every year, but a disinclination to shop around is resulting in mourners, who are often vulnerable, paying over the odds.”

Co-operative funeral care challenged the figures - stating that 81 per cent of people opt for cremation over a burial, and their figures show the average fees for funeral directors were at £2,810, or £3,900 including third party fees.

Funerals in Guildford, Liverpool and Brighton are all more than £5,000 on average, as they are in Newport, which is comfortably the most expensive place in Wales at £5,149 and the sixth priciest in the UK overall.

Cutting Costs: Tips and Advices

53% of people tried to cut back and keep funeral costs down in 2020, with 8% saying they felt they spent money they didn’t need to.

When we asked for tips on how to cut funeral costs, funeral directors and people who had organised a send-off gave similar advice:

-Choose a cheaper coffin

-Spend less on flowers

-Have the wake at home (if possible)

-Opt for a cremation or direct cremation

Don't be pressured into more expensive options

When you're arranging a traditional funeral, you'll be given a range of options for things like the coffin, flowers and transportation. Nobody wants to be the person who chose the cheapest coffin or flower arrangement for their loved one’s funeral.

However, people don’t want their families to spend too much on a formal affair when a simple funeral would do – they simply want everyone to get together, listen to their favourite music and have a few drinks.

Shop around until you find a price you're happy with

When it comes to things like flowers and catering, there’s always a cheaper alternative – and remember that cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean worse. So whether you’re planning a traditional funeral through a funeral director or arranging an informal memorial service yourself, make sure you shop around for a price that suits your budget.

Arrange the funeral yourself with a direct cremation

Direct cremation is a simple cremation without a funeral service. For £1,095, your loved one is collected and taken to a crematorium to be cremated. Their ashes are then returned to you in a temporary urn.

By taking care of the cremation straight away for a low, fixed price, you have the freedom to arrange a memorial service that’s right for you and your family – not a funeral director. You could hire out the town hall, take your loved one’s ashes to the park, or you could just have a simple gathering at your house, to keep the funeral expenses down. The choice, and the cost, is totally up to you

What type of funeral are people choosing?

59% of funerals in 2020 were cremations, making it the most popular choice. 26% were burials, and 14% were direct cremations.

However, the number of direct cremations increased by 11% during February to July, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funerals and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has made saying goodbye to our loved ones especially hard.

24% of people who organised a funeral between February and July 2020 describe the death of their loved one as COVID-19-related.

82% said the funeral they organised was affected a lot by COVID-19, with 71% also saying that not everyone who wanted to attend the funeral could.

How is the funeral industry coping?

Almost all funeral directors (97%) say they’ve been affected by the pandemic, but only 54% say they’ve felt supported by the government.

We asked them what the difficulties of organising a funeral during a pandemic are. The most common answers were:

-Government legislation resulting in families not being able to grieve together

-Misleading and disorganised guidance for funeral directors

-Not being able to support bereaved families face-to-face

-COVID-19 and the future of funerals

When we asked funeral directors how they think the COVID-19 pandemic will affect funerals in the future, they said:

-Job losses will mean people opt for simpler funerals

-Paperwork will go digital, as it’s more hygienic and efficient

-Direct cremations will continue to gain popularity

89% of funeral directors noticed some key trends in 2020.What are the latest funeral trends?

The most common is that people are using social media sites like Facebook to invite people to the service.

They also said that funerals are becoming more tailored to the individual, with special requests, personalised transport and unusual venues.

Others also pointed out that more people are choosing simpler, affordable send-offs like a direct cremation.

How much does a cremation cost?

A traditional cremation costs around £4,000 with funeral directors on the high street. This covers the collection and care of your loved one, along with a basic coffin, hearse and a simple service. It also includes the doctor’s fees and any fees that need to be paid to the crematorium.

How much does a funeral director cost?

A funeral director fee can usually make up 50-60% of the total cost of a funeral – so around £2,500. However, this can vary significantly depending on the style and size of the funeral you’re planning. If you’re arranging a grand affair, this is likely to take up a lot of the funeral director’s time and will therefore be more costly.

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