Burial costs UK 2023

In the UK, the average cost of a funeral with burial currently stands at £4,794[1].

This is a 5% decrease since 2020, when a basic funeral with burial cost £5,033[2].

When planning a funeral, it can be helpful to understand all the costs involved, especially if you’re on a budget.

In this guide, we breakdown the cost of a burial in the UK as well as look at the:

We also look at ways you can save money when arranging a burial funeral.

The data in this article has been sourced from the 2023 SunLife Cost of Dying Report

Over 50s life insurance allows you to leave a cash sum to your loved ones after you’re gone to help cover essential funeral costs, such as burial fees.

The application for over 50s life insurance doesn’t require any medical information and you’re guaranteed to be accepted if you’re a UK resident aged 50 - 85.

You could secure up to £20,000 of cover (depending on your personal circumstances and budget) and a pay out is guaranteed when you pass away.

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At Reassured, we offer a free trust-writing service for most of the policies that we arrange.

Over 50s life insurance starts from £5 a month + , so why not contact us today for your free quote?

How much does a funeral cost?

According to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report, the average cost of a funeral is £3,953.

This figure is calculated based on the average cost of both burial and cremation funerals in the UK.

The total cost of dying, which includes the cost of a funeral, was averaged at £9,200 in 2022. This figure also includes the average amount spent on:

  • Professional fees - Hiring a professional to administer the estate
  • Send-off optional extras - Flowers, memorial, order sheets, limousines and so on

How much does a burial cost?

In 2022, the average cost of a burial was £4,794. This average cost is calculated based on burial funeral costs throughout the UK and includes:

  • Funeral director services (to arrange and carry out the funeral)
  • Third party fees (burial fees, including the cost of a burial plot, and clergy or celebrant’s fees)

However, the cost of a burial funeral will depend on various factors including:

The location, date and time of the funeral service

Where you live in the UK will affect the cost of a funeral. This is because funeral director fees and third-party fees vary from region to region.

For example, in London the average cost of a funeral is £5,283 whereas in Northern Ireland its much lower at £3,317.

Also, the date and time of the funeral will impact the cost. This is because most funeral directors and cemeteries charge additional fees for out of hours, bank holiday or weekend services.


The type of burial plot and its location

Cemetery fees and other burial ground fees vary across the UK. Additionally, some types of burial plots are less expensive than other types.

For example, a natural burial plot tends to be cheaper than a cemetery burial plot.

Natural burial plots also have fewer maintenance fees and lower cost grave markers.

Other factors such as the depth of the burial plot and whether you’re a local resident or not will impact the cost of a burial.


Optional extras included for the funeral

The total cost of a burial funeral is also determined by which elements you wish to include for the service.

For example, flower arrangements, limousines and a headstone are all optional extras which many people choose to include and will add to the cost of a funeral.

Furthermore, you’ll also need to consider the cost of the coffin and hearse you choose.

For example, a traditional wood coffin will be pricier than a basic cardboard coffin, and if you choose a non-traditional hearse then it’s likely you’ll pay more for this.

Burial costs breakdown

As mentioned, the average cost of a burial funeral includes funeral director fees, burial fees and clergy or celebrant fees.

We explain each of these costs in more detail below:

Funeral director fees

Funeral director fees cover all the professional services provided by the funeral director and their staff to arrange and carry out the funeral.

The services they may provide for a burial funeral include:

  • Collection and care of the deceased
  • Professional guidance and advice regarding all aspects of the funeral
  • Arranging the burial with third parties
  • Submitting the necessary paperwork and legal documents
  • Embalming and dressing of the decreased
  • Organising funeral staff and transport for the day
  • Pallbearing
  • Hearse & coffin
  • Funeral cars or limousines

Funeral directors can tailor their services to suit your needs and budget.

Every funeral director should provide you with a price list of all their services, ensuring that you’re fully informed of the costs involved before making a final decision.

While most people choose to hire a funeral director to arrange a funeral, it’s not obligatory.


Third-party fees

Third-party fees are for additional services required for a traditional burial funeral.

  • Burial fees

Burial fees include the cost of a new double-depth burial plot, digging of the grave and the interment (the burial itself).

When buying a burial plot, you become the owner of the lease rather than the plot itself. A burial plot lease can last between 50 and 100 years and is called the ‘Exclusive Right of Burial’. When the lease expires, it can be purchased by someone else.

Burial fees vary greatly throughout the UK, however, according to the Funeral Guide, the average cost of burial fees in 2020 were £1,698[3]. This figure was based on the interment fee and a 50 year lease of the burial plot for a local resident.

Furthermore, the cost of burial plot at a council-owned cemetery for a non-resident of the local area can be more expensive than for a resident.

  • Clergy or celebrant fees

The minister or celebrant will charge a fee to lead the service at your chosen funeral venue.

According to SunLife, the average clergy fee was £174 and the average humanist celebrant fee was £210 in 2022.

Optional burial costs

Optional burial costs are for the additional elements of a funeral that aren’t essential but tend to be included for a send-off.

These costs contribute to the total cost of dying in the UK which is £9,200.


The table below shows how much people spent on average in 2022 on the optional extras for a burial funeral:

Optional extrasAverage cost
Memorial£1,064
Catering£467
Additional limousine hire£353
Venue hire£312
Flowers£210
Order sheets£105
Funeral notice£80
Death notice£77
TOTAL AVERAGE£2,669


Other optional costs you may need to consider when arranging a burial include:

  • Embalming
  • Live music for the ceremony or wake
  • Fee to assemble the memorial
  • Memorial maintenance (repairs, resurfacing etc)

With an over 50s plan, you could leave a cash lump sum to your loved ones to contribute towards your funeral costs when the time comes.

The pay out can be up to £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances) which is enough to cover basic funeral costs as well as optional extras to personalise your final farewell.

Get in touch with Reassured today for your free, no-obligation quotes.

Cost of burial where you live

The average cost of a burial funeral varies significantly from region to region in the UK.

Find out the average cost of burial in your area from the table below:

RegionAverage cost
London£8,353
South East & East of England£5,105
East and West Midlands£4,849
Scotland£4,449
Yorkshire and the Humber£4,711
South West England£4,039
North East England£4,395
Wales£4,553
North West England£4,330
Northern Ireland£3,153
NATIONAL AVERAGE£4,794


It’s no surprise that London is the most expensive location for a burial funeral. In fact, it’s a staggering 74% higher than the national average.

London has the most expensive cemeteries, and the cost of a burial plot is much higher in the city than any other region.

For example, the London Borough of Richmond Council charge upwards of £2,363 for a burial plot, plus £1,569 for the interment.

Northern Ireland is the least expensive location for a burial funeral. In fact, it’s 34% below the national average.

Cost of burial plot UK

As part of the overall funeral cost, burial fees include the average cost of burial in a new double-depth burial plot.

As mentioned, burial plots in the UK are leased for a set period of time (usually between 50 - 100 years), rather than sold permanently.

The lease is called an ‘Exclusive Right of Burial’ and can be purchased from the cemetery or burial ground owner directly.

An Exclusive Right of Burial ensures that multiple family members can use the burial plot (depending on its depth) and that no-one else can be buried there during that time.

The cost of a burial plot ranges from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds depending on the location of the cemetery or burial ground.

Other factors that determine the cost of a burial plot include:

  • The cemetery or graveyard - Whether it’s owned by the council, by the church or if it’s privately owned and how much they charge for a burial
  • The residential status of the deceased - Council run cemeteries provide residents with a discounted rate
  • The location of the burial ground - Woodland burials tend to be less expensive than cemetery burials
  • Size of the burial plot - Different size plots can be purchased depending on the length of the lease and how many people will be buried there

In the table below you’ll find some example prices of the Exclusive Right of Burial and interment fee for a local resident at council run cemeteries in the UK[4].

CemeteryExclusive Right of BurialInterment fee
Preston City Council£1,013 (75 years)£576
Horsham District Council£1,338 (100 years)£645
Folkstone & Hythe Council£629 (100 years)£705
Newcastle City Council£1,009 (50 years)£885
Plymouth City Council£1,440 (50 years)£935
Highland Council£599 (lease unspecified)£959


As you can see, prices vary significantly depending on the location of the burial.

Burial of ashes in existing grave cost UK

If you’ve having a cremation and wish to bury the ashes in an existing grave, then this service can cost from around £100 in the UK.

Additionally, you must own the lease of the existing grave (Exclusive Right of Burial) for the ashes to be buried there.


The table below shows some example prices for interring cremated remains in council run cemeteries across the UK.

Bear in mind, these prices are for interment of ashes only, and don’t include the fee for the cremation itself or any other costs involved when arranging a cremation.

CemeteryInterment fee
Preston City Council£109
Folkstone & Hythe Council£153
Plymouth City Council£200
Highland Council£224
Horsham District Council£225
Newcastle City Council£267


Other costs you may need to consider for burial of ashes in an existing grave include:

  • Urn for the ashes
  • Memorial or headstone plus the fees to assemble
  • Memorial maintenance (repairs, resurfacing etc)

We have a full guide to the cost of cremation in the UK if you might consider arranging a cremation funeral »

Cost of burial vs cremation UK

Burial fees are significantly higher than cremation fees in the UK.

This is because, with a cremation, it’s not necessary to purchase a burial plot or pay an interment fee unless you wish to bury the ashes.

Most families choose to scatter the ashes which usually doesn’t cost anything at all.

In the UK, the average cost of a basic cremation funeral is £3,673; around 30% cheaper than the average burial funeral.

There’s also the option of a direct cremation, which is a cremation without a funeral service and costs on average £1,511.


The table below shows the difference in average burial fees vs cremation fees for each region:

RegionCremation feesBurial fees
Northern Ireland£408£520
London£790£4,391
Wales£809£1,686
North East£845£1,706
North West£855£1,729
Scotland£881£1,650
West Midlands£883£2,077
East Midlands£890£1,249
South East£896£1,537
Yorkshire & the Humber£922£1,928
East of England£944£1,386
South West£958£1,287

Source: Funeral Guide[3]

Taking out an over 50s plan today can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will receive some financial help for your funeral.

If you’re aged 50 - 85 then you’re guaranteed to be accepted and premiums start from just 20p-a-day, so why not get in touch for your free quotes?

How much does a headstone cost UK?

The average cost of a memorial, such as a traditional headstone, is currently £1,064 according to the SunLife Cost of Dying report.

Many families spend more on the memorial than they do on any other part of the send-off.

However, the cost of a headstone can vary significantly in price depending on many factors such as the type, size and material.

A memorial can be tailored to the style of your choice and a funeral director can help you with selecting the most suitable option.

How much does a woodland burial cost UK?

The cost of a woodland funeral in the UK depends on a number of factors, such as the location of the burial ground.

A burial plot in a natural woodland setting could cost from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds.

You’d also need to consider the interment fee which could cost a few hundred pounds on top of the plot cost.

For example, Eden Valley Burials in Kent (operated by the Natural Death Centre Charity) charges £1,675 for an adult woodland grave and £695 for the interment[5].

In comparison, the City of London Cemetery charges £1,300 for an adult woodland grave and £1,734 for the interment[6].

How much does it cost to be buried at sea?

The logistics of arranging a burial at sea can be complicated, which subsequently has an impact on the cost.

Firstly, a self-service marine license for sea burial must be purchased from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which costs £50[7].

Secondly, the services of a funeral director (perhaps with experience of arranging burials at sea) may be required.

They may charge upwards of a few thousand pounds, much like a traditional funeral on land.

There are also requirements as to the type of coffin and how it’s prepared for a sea burial.

For example, it must have holes drilled throughout and there must have 200kg of metal or concrete clamped to the base to ensure that the coffin sinks to the seabed.

There will also be third-party services to consider, including a boat hire company and crew that are experienced and equipped with handling a burial at sea.

This may cost an additional few thousand pounds. For example, ‘Burials at Sea’ based on the Isle of Wight charge from £2,785 for their services[8].

For an additional cost, they can arrange a suitable coffin, additional boat hire for mourners and liaise with a funeral director on your behalf.

There are three different locations in England where burials at sea are permitted to take place:

  • The Needles, Isle of Wight
  • Between Hastings and Newhaven
  • Tynemouth, North Tyneside

Secure over 50s life insurance for burial costs

Making financial provisions for your own funeral can help to alleviate money worries for your family when the time comes.

With an over 50s plan, you can have peace of mind knowing that a lump sum will be paid out when you pass away as a contribution for your funeral expenses.

Acceptance is guaranteed if you’re aged 50 - 85 and you can secure up to £20,000 depending on your personal circumstances.

Over 50s life insurance starts from just £5 a month through Reassured. Make the most of our award-winning service today and get your free, no-obligation quotes.

Sources:

[1] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/siteassets/documents/cost-of-dying/sunlife-cost-of-dying-report-2023.pdf/

[2] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/siteassets/documents/cost-of-dying/cost-of-dying-report-2021.pdf

[3] https://www.funeralguide.co.uk/blog/cremation-and-burial-costs

[4] https://www.horsham.gov.uk/community/cemeteries-and-burials
https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/cemeteries-burials-memorials/cemetery-fees-and-charges https://www.preston.gov.uk/article/1039/Cemetery-and-Cremation-prices https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2019%20Cem%20%26%20Crem%20fees%20list.pdf https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/15979/burial_charges https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/cemeteries-and-crematoria-fees-and-charges https://www.richmond.gov.uk/

[5] https://www.edenvalleyburials.org.uk/our-prices/

[6] https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/births-deaths-and-marriages/cemetery-and-crematorium/fees-and-charges

[7] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-get-a-licence-for-a-burial-at-sea-in-england

[8] https://www.burialsatsea.co.uk/burials-at-sea/standard-burials

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