How much does cremation cost in the UK? Well, that depends…

How much does cremation cost in the UK? Well, that depends…

by Martin Jackson2022-09-190

Why choose cremation?

Cremations in the UK can serve as both a funeral or a post-funeral rite, which means the cremation can happen either at the same time as the funeral, or at a later date. In fact, it’s the range of options available that make cremation an increasingly popular choice. And as well as being a smart choice for those who want to scatter or keep their loved one’s remains somewhere special, it’s almost always cheaper than burial too.

Many people also believe that cremations are preferable to burial as they take up less space, which can be especially important in larger towns or cities.

While choices are often a good thing to have, we at Fenix also understand that during the emotional period after someone’s death, it can feel like you don’t know which way to turn. That’s why our personal advisors are always here to help you plan the perfect funeral. Feel free to get in touch – we’re always here for you.

How much does cremation cost in the UK?

The cost of cremation starts at around £1,100 for a ‘direct cremation’ without a service. If you decide to have a funeral service, such as a ceremony at the crematorium, the cremation costs will increase. Average cremation funeral costs in the UK include: £3,500 in the north-east and north-west of England, £4,000 in the midlands, and £4,600 in London. Whatever your needs, it’s generally the case that cremation is the cheaper option versus burial.

At Fenix, we’ve got many years’ experience arranging every type of cremation imaginable, from the simplest to the most complex. Whatever your plans or budget for a cremation in England, our advisers can support you along every step of the process. Or, they can just help you find a crematorium near you, book a celebrant, or organise flowers. Whatever your questions, you can ask us with absolutely no commitment.

Cremation costs in the UK: broken down

Here we’ve broken down some of the main costs of cremation in the UK. Some of these costs are essential, and some are optional. If you have a tight budget, you can always speak to one of our advisers who can help you plan the perfect cremation to match what you can afford.

Doctor’s fee

A doctor needs to certify the death, and the paperwork needs to be completed before a cremation can take place. In most cases, there is a fee associated with this paperwork. Our advisors will ensure the correct paperwork is in place for your loved one’s cremation.

Crematorium fee

A basic crematorium fee in the UK has an average cost of around £800. This should cover an adult cremation, with a standard weekday time slot (weekends are always more expensive). Though London is one of the most expensive regions for burial, it is actually one of the cheapest cremation regions. The average costs for a local council crematorium in London is £755.

Funeral service costs

If you plan to hold a funeral service to bring together family/friends, costs can include:

  • The celebrant or minister’s fees (ranging from £200-300).
  • Flowers for the service (starting around £100).
  • Catering and venue hire (£600+).

Funeral director fee

A funeral director is not essential, but many people find that their expertise, contacts, and personal support can remove lots of additional work and stress. Funeral directors can often handle most if not all of the logistics involved in the process, from paying doctor’s fees to filling out the paperwork needed for the cremation, collecting and storing the body to organising transportation and flowers. Your funeral director should always be willing to work around your budget.

Fenix can act as your funeral director, and our UK-wide network of advisers and experts makes every step of the process as simple and supportive as possible.

What is a direct cremation?

If your budget is limited, or if you just don’t want or need a service, a direct cremation in the UK might be the right choice. In fact, celebrities like David Bowie and Karl Lagerfeld requested direct cremation in their wills – so it’s not an uncommon option at all. About 15% of cremations in the UK are direct.

With direct cremation, you can’t choose the day or time it happens, and there’s no service, mourners, or visitation prior to cremation. However, the body is treated with absolute respect, and the ashes can be delivered to your home, or scattered at the crematorium on your behalf. A later memorial service could then be held, if desired.

It all costs around £1,100, which should include the doctor’s fee (for the death certificate) and crematorium costs. Extra services, which can be added to this, include:

  • Delivery of ashes (around £150).
  • Collecting the body after hours, or from a nursing home (around £250+).
  • A memorial ceremony (the price depends on the type of ceremony you choose).

Fenix also now offers a ‘Direct Cremation Premium’ service, which allows you to add on a limited selection of additional services before the direct cremation takes place. For example, we can arrange for the bereaved family to view their loved one at the crematorium. Or have the deceased dressed in clothing of the family's choice.

Why is burial more expensive than cremation in the UK?

Burials can cost more than cremation in the UK due to the costs of:

  • Leasing a burial plot.
  • Digging and filling the grave.
  • A charge to use the cemetery to conduct the funeral service.
  • A ‘non-resident charge’ for someone who did not live in the area.
  • An annual fee for tending to the gravesite, e.g. dealing with weeds and leaves.

Where you live can make a huge difference when it comes to burial, with costs varying between regions and even between towns.

What is the cheapest way to be cremated in the UK?

Perhaps the cheapest cremation option for cremation in the UK is choosing, prior to your death, to donate your body to science. If someone has donated their body to scientific study, the primary post-death cost is the transportation cost to move the body to the closest medical school.

Once the medical school has used the body for important training and research, they will usually organise a memorial, committal, or thanksgiving service for the deceased. The body is then cremated, unless the next of kin have expressly requested the return of the body for private burial.

If you are interested in learning more about donating your body to science, then get in touch with your local medical school. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have, and to provide consent forms. The Royal College of Surgeons has more information on this topic, as does the Human Tissue Authority.

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