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How much does a funeral cost and what are my options?

Trying to manage your grief while making funeral arrangements can be emotionally draining. Even more so if you have to deal with the added worry of trying to finance it.

To help ease any concerns you might have, in this article, we’ll outline the average cost of different types of funerals to give you a guideline of what you can expect to pay. 

As long as funds are available, costs can usually be paid directly from your loved one’s bank account, even if it’s been frozen. However, for cases in which funds aren’t available, we’ll also explore alternative options that can help keep costs down, without sacrificing on quality. 

Traditional Funerals 

*stats taken from Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2018


If your loved one has requested to be buried, you should expect to pay an average of £4798. This covers a basic ceremony, coffin, hearse, burial fee and the funeral directors fee.

Keep in mind that prices vary by region. Most areas in England are in-line with the average, but burials are more expensive in London and slightly less in Scotland and Wales.


A recent YouGov poll shows that 58% of people would prefer to be cremated.

If you’re considering this option then you should expect to pay an average of £3744. This will cover the same basic service costs as a burial service - minus a burial plot.

Though it’s not traditional, you also have the option of direct cremation. This is a lower-cost alternative in which no service is usually held. But, mourners often choose to hold a more intimate, private ceremony in a family home following the cremation. 

The average total cost for this - which usually includes a basic coffin - is £1712. However, you could bring the cost below £1000 by comparing the packages offered by different crematoriums and funeral service providers in your local area.   

Non-traditional Funerals 

Woodland or Natural Burial

Amid growing environmental concerns, eco-friendly funerals are becoming increasingly common. And the typical choice - which forgoes traditional funeral procedures such as embalming and industrially manufactured wooden coffins - is a woodland or natural burial

Both embalming and wooden coffins can have harmful environmental consequences. With the former releasing toxic chemicals into the environment and the latter requiring a manufacturing process that leaves a heavy carbon footprint.

The benefits of a natural burial are that your loved one will usually be wrapped in a biodegradable shroud or placed in a sustainably sourced coffin and then buried in a woodland area. They’ll then rejoin the natural ecosystem without having contributed to any environmentally harmful practices.

Prices can vary substantially, and you can expect to pay anywhere between a few hundred pounds to well into the thousands, depending on your location and the options available to you. If it’s an option you’d like to explore, you can follow this link to find useful information about natural burial sites in your area and how much you should expect to pay for them.

As a side-note, natural burials are usually non-religious ceremonies. But it is still an option if you require a Church of England ceremony, as ministers will usually travel to accommodate your needs. 

Home Burial

This is perhaps the least common type of burial, as many don’t realise it’s an option. And, for some, the thought of having a loved buried on their property could be uncomfortable. 

That said, there are those who like the idea of being buried somewhere that holds sentimental value. So, it’s worth considering if it’s what your loved one would prefer. 

Although this type of burial can help alleviate costs, there are stringent rules that need to be met before you will be permitted to carry it out. So you’ll need to speak to your local authority before making arrangements.

Looking to the Future 

The types of funeral listed above are the main options available for those planning a funeral in the UK. However, there are people currently experimenting with innovative technologies to find new, eco-friendly alternatives that are also less expensive. So this could change in the coming years.

As a final note, it’s not unusual for families to struggle to cover funeral costs. With some falling into debt to ensure a good send-off. 

As shown, there are ways to avoid this. But, if you are concerned about the cost of paying for a funeral, you can follow this link for advice about additional support that’s available to you. Or this link to find out if you’re eligible for government assistance.

It can also be helpful to look into alternative ways to save. We offer a self-service platform for those managing probate, which can significantly reduce the costs involved in winding up an estate. 

The savings from this could help cover the cost of the funeral and any expenses for additional services you might like to include.