Direct cremation guide

  • A simple cremation without a funeral service
  • A cheaper alternative to a traditional funeral saving over £2,000
  • A modern approach for those not wanting the upset of a funeral service
  • Read reviews & compare leading UK direct cremation providers

A modern way to say goodbye without the fuss of a ceremony

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Compare simple cremation funeral plans

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Comparing direct cremation plans is important to ensure your money is safe and your services are fully guaranteed with no hidden extras. The following comparison table compares the prices of market leading UK providers and the services they include, so you can choose the best direct cremation plan for you.

Simplicity

Simplicity provide a full guarantee for all of the services included in their 3 plans in addition to collection at anytime of the day or night, anywhere in the UK. Their 3 plans give families the flexibility to attend the cremation if they prefer and their crematoriums are located throughout the country.

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Price:
£1,495
FPA registered:
Yes
Collection fully covered:
Yes
Ashes delivered:
Yes
Cremation fees:
Guaranteed
Doctors fees:
Not included

Simplicity provide a full guarantee for all of the services included in their 3 plans in addition to collection at anytime of the day or night, anywhere in the UK. Their 3 plans give families the flexibility to attend the cremation if they prefer and their crematoriums are located throughout the country.

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Plan Provider: Golden Charter

One of the more expensive direct cremation funeral plans with good coverage and local funeral directors throughout the UK. The Golden Charter simple cremation only plan has just a 15 mile radius for collection, which stipulates is within working hours. This means there may be more to pay if collection is outside either the area or core working hours. In addition there is an allowance of only £500 for the cremation fees and doctor’s fees, which again could mean your family has more to pay. Finally cremation ashes need to be collected and it does state that there may be a charge for this too.

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Price:
£1,950
FPA registered:
Yes
Collection fully covered:
No
Ashes delivered:
No
Cremation fees:
Allowance
Doctors fees:
Allowance

One of the more expensive direct cremation funeral plans with good coverage and local funeral directors throughout the UK. The Golden Charter simple cremation only plan has just a 15 mile radius for collection, which stipulates is within working hours. This means there may be more to pay if collection is outside either the area or core working hours. In addition there is an allowance of only £500 for the cremation fees and doctor’s fees, which again could mean your family has more to pay. Finally cremation ashes need to be collected and it does state that there may be a charge for this too.

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Plan Provider: Golden Leaves

The Golden Leaves direct funeral plan is one of the more expensive plans however collection is only from a hospital or hospice and within working hours. This means there could be more to pay if you were to die at home or in a nursing home or collection was required outside of the core working hours. This simple cremation only plan includes an allowance for the cremation fees of £840 but no provision for the doctor’s fees. Ashes can be returned but this would also need to be paid for.

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Price:
£1,844
FPA registered:
Yes
Collection fully covered:
No
Ashes delivered:
No
Cremation fees:
Allowance
Doctors fees:
Not included

The Golden Leaves direct funeral plan is one of the more expensive plans however collection is only from a hospital or hospice and within working hours. This means there could be more to pay if you were to die at home or in a nursing home or collection was required outside of the core working hours. This simple cremation only plan includes an allowance for the cremation fees of £840 but no provision for the doctor’s fees. Ashes can be returned but this would also need to be paid for.

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Pure Cremation

Pure Cremation is the only company to specialise in direct cremation funerals, operating from their premises in Newbury, Berkshire . The services included in the plan are fully guarantees including collection anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland*, day or night; cremation fees and doctor’s fees and ashes returned by hand delivery..

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Price:
£1,595
FPA registered:
Yes
Collection fully covered:
Yes
Ashes delivered:
Yes
Cremation fees:
Guaranteed
Doctors fees:
Not included

Pure Cremation is the only company to specialise in direct cremation funerals, operating from their premises in Newbury, Berkshire . The services included in the plan are fully guarantees including collection anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland*, day or night; cremation fees and doctor’s fees and ashes returned by hand delivery..

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Plan Provider: Respect Express

Respect Express offers direct cremation but also direct burial too at one of their woodland burial sites. Prices are regional so not clear on total cremation cost and collection is only from a hospital or mortuary, so there would be a fee if you died at home or in a nursing home. Collection outside core working hours would incur a charge, as would the return of cremation ashes. The cremation fees are guaranteed with this direct funeral plan but there is no provision for the doctor’s fees.

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Price:
£1,550
FPA registered:
No
Collection fully covered:
No
Ashes delivered:
No
Cremation fees:
Guaranteed
Doctors fees:
Not included

Respect Express offers direct cremation but also direct burial too at one of their woodland burial sites. Prices are regional so not clear on total cremation cost and collection is only from a hospital or mortuary, so there would be a fee if you died at home or in a nursing home. Collection outside core working hours would incur a charge, as would the return of cremation ashes. The cremation fees are guaranteed with this direct funeral plan but there is no provision for the doctor’s fees.

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Plan Provider: Memoria

This simple cremation only plan includes collection from a hospital or hospice, so if you died at home or in a nursing home there would be more to pay which would of course increase the overall cost of the service. Memoria do own their own crematoriums so have full control of fees, which is why the cremation cost is fully guaranteed.

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Price:
£1,675
FPA registered:
Yes
Collection fully covered:
No
Ashes delivered:
Yes
Cremation fees:
Guaranteed
Doctors fees:
Guaranteed

This simple cremation only plan includes collection from a hospital or hospice, so if you died at home or in a nursing home there would be more to pay which would of course increase the overall cost of the service. Memoria do own their own crematoriums so have full control of fees, which is why the cremation cost is fully guaranteed.

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Plan Provider: Simplicita

This simple cremation only plan includes collection from a hospital or hospice, so if you died at home or in a nursing home there would be more to pay. In addition there is an allowance of £450 for the cremation cost so any extra would need to be paid for by your family. Certainly not a cheap cremation plan when you include the add on services that may be required..

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Price:
£1,645
FPA registered:
Yes
Collection fully covered:
No
Ashes delivered:
No
Cremation fees:
Allowance
Doctors fees:
Not included

Simplicita prepaid cremation plans guarantee your cremation services at today's prices, leaving your family with nothing more to pay when the time comes. They will also return and hand deliver the ashes if you wish, something other companies don't.

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Plan Provider: Safehands

The Safehands direct cremation plan is one of the more expensive simple cremation only plans but it does come with a full guarantee for the services included. Safehands work with funeral directors throughout the UK who accept their plans but this is only decided upon at the time of need, therefore the detail about where the cremation will take place is unknown..

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Price:
£1,895
FPA registered:
No
Collection fully covered:
Yes
Ashes delivered:
No
Cremation fees:
Guaranteed
Doctors fees:
Guaranteed

The Safehands direct cremation plan is one of the more expensive simple cremation only plans but it does come with a full guarantee for the services included. 

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Plan Provider: Open

The Open Prepaid direct funeral plan where possible aims to work with local funeral directors and crematoriums and provides collection within working hours and a £840 allowance for the cremation cost and doctors charges. This means there could be more to pay if out of hours collection is required and the cremation fees are above the allowance. Cremation ashes can be returned but again may incur a charge.  

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Price:
£1,845
FPA registered:
No
Collection fully covered:
No
Ashes delivered:
No
Cremation fees:
Allowance
Doctors fees:
Allowance

The Open Prepaid direct funeral plan where possible aims to work with local funeral directors and crematoriums and provides collection within working hours and a £840 allowance for the cremation cost and doctors charges. This means there could be more to pay if out of hours collection is required and the cremation fees are above the allowance. Cremation ashes can be returned but again may incur a charge.  .

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Although a simple cremation, when it comes to comparing direct cremation plans, you want to ensure that the company you choose offers the best price but also a dignified and professional service, which is where we can help.

Why do people choose this simple approach?

Be it simplicity or wanting to cut down on funeral costs, people across the UK are starting to choose direct funerals for a number of reasons:

  • Not wanting the fuss of a traditional funeral service, be it religious or non religious
  • Don’t like the idea or don’t believe in traditional funeral services
  • Wanting a low cost, cheaper alternative to a cremation funeral
  • Would rather family have a party or hold ‘a celebration of life’ service instead
  • Few or no people to attend the crematorium
  • Family are unable to attend a funeral service
  • Family disputes could make a funeral service difficult to attend
  • Would prefer to spend money on a party or leave it to family rather than on funeral costs

How do "no service" cheap funerals compare to traditional plans?

What you get: Professional support

Direct Cremation:
Yes
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

What you get: Collection of the deceased

Direct Cremation:
Yes
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

What you get: Family viewing

Direct Cremation:
No
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

What you get: Coffin

Direct Cremation:
A simple coffin
Traditional Funeral:
Choice of coffin

What you get: Choice of Crematorium

Direct Cremation:
No
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

What you get: Choice of Cremation Date

Direct Cremation:
No
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

What you get: Transport to crematorium

Direct Cremation:
A suitable vehicle
Traditional Funeral:
A hearse

What you get: Funeral Service

Direct Cremation:
No
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

What you get: Wake or reception

Direct Cremation:
When & where you choose
Traditional Funeral:
On day of cremation

What you get: Return of ashes

Direct Cremation:
Yes
Traditional Funeral:
Yes

Typical costs

Direct Cremation:
Cost between £1,400 to £2,000
Traditional Funeral:
Cost between £3,000 to £5,000

Although increasing in popularity, a direct funeral which separates the cremation process from the ceremony isn’t for everyone; so it’s important to talk to your family before making any decisions.

Some families will be relieved at the thought of a cremation without a funeral; others will prefer the familiarity of tradition and want a funeral service at the crematorium to pay last respects and say goodbye.

So to help you decide, this is how direct cremations and traditional cremations compare.

In addition to the different features, the direct funeral plan is considerably cheaper, saving you over £1,500.

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How does a cremation without a funeral work?

A direct funeral is a simple cremation process but with none of the pomp and ceremony; cutting out the fuss and reducing funeral costs. An affordable low cost funeral option when it comes to planning. Here’s how it works:

  • The person who has died is collected by the direct cremation service provider and looked after until the time of the cremation. No embalming is required as there is no family viewing.
  • The death will need to be registered by the family but the service provider should handle the rest of the paperwork legally required to allow the cremation process to take place. This can take a few days.
  • The deceased is placed in a coffin suitable for cremation and transported to the crematorium. The crematorium and the date and time of the cremation are chosen by the company, not the family.
  • The family can decide to have the ashes scattered at the crematoriums garden of remembrance or returned directly to them.

Which is the best direct cremation funeral plan for you?

According to a recent report into the cost of dying, the funeral directors stated that, 1 in 10 of the funerals arranged that year were for direct funerals. As a result of this increase in interest for ‘cremation only’ affordable funerals, there are now a number of ways you can buy a direct cremation funeral plan.

To cater for those looking for low cost funerals without a service, UK funeral providers and ‘cremation only’ companies have introduced prepaid plans, so you can arrange everything in advance.

Having compared direct cremation funeral plans across the market, the company we believe stands out from the crowd is Simplicity, part of leading UK funeral planning company Dignity.

Unlike most companies that only operate from one location, Simplicity Cremations provide their cremation services throughout the UK, using their nationwide network of privately owned Dignity Crematoriums.

As well as being one of the best priced plans on the market, their prepaid direct cremation plans completely guarantee all the services included, so you can be sure your family will have no nasty surprises and nothing more to pay when the time comes.

For example many direct cremation UK providers charge extra for collection out of hours or from home or a nursing home however this is not the case with Simplicity.

In addition to their guarantee, the three prepaid plans they offer give customers and their families the flexibility to choose between a simple direct cremation; a cremation with up to 12 people in attendance or a cremation with a full length service.

Here is what’s included in the Simplicity Plans:

  • Nationwide collection anywhere in the UK and at anytime of the day or night
  • Cremation fees guaranteed
  • A simple coffin
  • Transportation the crematorium closest to the place of rest
  • Scattering of cremation ashes in a garden of remembrance or return of the ashes to the family

In addition the Magnolia plan includes time in the chapel prior to the cremation for up to 12 people whereas the Orchid Plan includes a full length service organised by the family with no limit on attendees.

Ways to pay for your Simplicity Plan

You can choose to pay for your Simplicity plan in one go or spread your costs over 12 months and you won’t incur any additional fees.

If you prefer to spread your costs over a longer period, instalment options are available over 2, 5 and 10 years.

Your money is held securely in the independent trust fund – the National Funeral Trust, ready to pay for your services when the time comes and Dignity is registered with the industry regulator the Funeral Planning Authority, so comply with their strict rules and code of practise.

For more information or to request a brochure, please call us on 0800 133 7656 or click the ‘request more information’ button below to receive a brochure.

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Are direct cremations respectful?

Ultimately whether you opt for what some would consider as the more affordable option of a direct funeral or a traditional funeral service, it is certainly worth talking to your friends and family before making this decision.

Direct funerals are a relatively new idea so it might take a couple of conversations to help others understand what else they can do to say goodbye.

On understanding that there are other options available, many people really embrace the idea of a family gathering, celebration of life or memorial service somewhere more relaxed and informal than the local crematorium. The flexibility to arrange something at a time to suit the family, perhaps on a weekend in more familiar surroundings, or choosing a special happy place for scattering ashes, giving people the chance to focus on the life rather than the upset of the death.

And don’t forget, choosing a simple cremation without a funeral service means you are in good company.  You may recall that David Bowie famously had a direct funeral and was cremated without a service in January 2016, but did you know that John Lennon also adopted a similar approach way back in December 1980.

Whichever option you choose, read the small print. A cheap cremation funeral plan may end up costing more in the long term.

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What if it's not for me?

If you are looking for a simple cremation but don’t like the ‘no funeral just cremation’ idea, then other options are available that still provide the more familiar traditional approach alongside your cremation services.

For example many UK funeral plan providers have recently introduced more basic funeral plan options that offer the traditional funeral service but with some restrictions.

For example some simple cheap funeral plans restrict the time of the cremation services to a time when the crematoriums are usually quiet. Others reduce the allowance that is included for third party cremation expenses and minister’s fees. Do be careful to read the small print though as this could be a false economy if it means your family has more to pay when the time comes; especially when you consider the eye watering cremation costs in certain areas of the country.

They may well find that your so called ‘cheap cremation services’ are not be quite so cheap in the long run.

For more information on how to arrange and pay for your funeral in advance with a prepaid funeral plan and compare funeral plans on offer, see our specialist "compare funeral plans" section of this site

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*Collection in Scotland from any mainland areas within 2 hours of Glasgow or Edinburgh is guaranteed at no extra cost. If collection is outside this area, please get in touch for information on possible additional charges.

Frequently asked questions

Can I choose the crematorium?

What makes Simplicity different to a lot of other direct cremation providers who only operate from one location is that they have crematoriums throughout the country. Therefore the crematorium used will be the one that is closest to your place of rest.

Who is Simplicity?

Simplicity is part of one of the UKs leading funeral planning company Dignity. In addition to providing prepaid funeral plans, Dignity own their own funeral directors and are the largest owner of private crematoriums located throughout the country.


They are registered and therefore regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority and one of the few providers to fully guarantee all of the services included in the plan.

Is my money safe?

When you buy a direct cremation plan your money is usually either placed in a life insurance plan or a trust fund.
With Simplicity, your money is placed in a trust fund which is a completely separate entity to the company. Therefore if anything were to happen to Simplicity, the trust fund with your money in it remains intact and ready to pay for your direct funeral services.  


It’s also important to add that Dignity, the company behind Simplicity is registered with and therefore regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority. This means they have proven that they comply with all of the FPA’s strict rules and code of practise that are in place to ensure your money is held securely and the service you and your family receive is in line with their standards.

Can my family attend the cremation?

One of the reasons we recommend Simplicity is that there are three plans to choose from giving families the flexibility to choose the option that best suits their requirements.


The Lily Plan is a straight forward direct cremation with no one in attendance. The Magnolia plan allows up to 12 people to attend the chapel prior to the cremation and the Orchid Plan includes a full length service organised by the family.

What happens if my family change their mind and don’t want a direct funeral?

If your direct funeral plan isn’t used, perhaps because the family change their mind, it can be cancelled and the money you have paid would be returned minus the administration fee.

Can family viewing at a chapel of rest be arranged with a direct cremation plan?

No, viewing is not usually available with a direct funeral however families could always agree a collection time that allows for visiting first.

I have just lost someone and need to arrange a cheap funeral?

Direct cremation is a simple cremation with no funeral service and no one in attendance. Just the cremation process and then if requested, the ashes are returned to the family; so a much cheaper alternative to a more traditional funeral service.

If you would like to discuss arranging a direct cremation service, please call 0800 133 7656.

What is the cheapest funeral I can have?

The cheapest funeral depends on the services you require, so opting for a cheaper simple coffin and no funeral service will reduce the price. Therefore a direct cremation could certainly be a low cost funeral option and possibly more affordable if you and your family are on a tight budget or just looking for a simple cremation.

You can actually be buried in your own back garden if you wish; it is legal but there are stipulations and your family may have difficulty in selling the property in the future.

Another option is donating your body to science; although there are no guarantees that your body will be accepted when the time comes, so you should also have an alternative plan in place to ensure the basic funeral costs are covered.

If you are thinking about services for yourself and want to cut funeral costs – it would be worth shopping around and looking at the different options in advance, as family’s are loathed to do this at the time of need and therefore may end up arranging a more costly funeral service than you would have perhaps wanted

How much does it cost to be cremated?

Cremation costs which include cremation services with family in attendance at a crematorium vary depending on where you live in the country. Ranging from £600 to over £1,000, they currently average almost £800 across the UK, so it is a bit of a postcode lottery.

For direct cremation, some UK providers will charge you a fixed price as they use one crematorium. This means they have greater control over costs and are better equipped to offer low cost funerals.

Others will use local cremation services at a crematorium that's nearby, so fees may vary depending on where you live. Direct Cremation service providers will also use crematoriums at quieter times, which also cuts down on funeral costs.

Where is the nearest direct cremation service to me?

Low cost cremations are offered nationally by some companies or you can approach a local funeral director to see if they offer this type of service. You can check this funeral directory for your nearest funeral director.

As always if you are paying in advance for funeral services, be it a traditional funeral or simple direct funeral, always check how your money is held; what happens if the company goes out of business and also what happens if you move.

Is it cheaper to be buried or cremated?

Cremation tends to be the cheaper option but with burial it does depend on whether you already have a burial plot. Purchasing a burial plot can be costly and in some areas a more challenging option with prices for a burial plot ranging from £500 to £2,000 – higher as you may expect in London. Again the cost of a burial or cremation boils down to where you live. 

Can I buy a prepaid direct cremation plan?

Yes, some providers are now also offering prepaid direct funeral plans as an option for those looking at cheap funerals. So you can plan ahead and let your family know that this is your preferred option and that you have already taken care of everything so they don't have to.

We would recommend that you do talk to your family first though if this is your intention to ensure they are happy and understand why you prefer to choose a simple direct funeral.

I'm looking for a simple funeral with no fuss

A direct cremation is an alternative to a simple funeral. In basic terms it is just the cremation process but without the actual funeral service.

A funeral is the ceremony connected to the disposal of the body, often including appropriate cultures and traditions. Often people who refer to wanting a ‘simple funeral’ actual mean a traditional service but without any extras, such as flowers or perhaps only one service at the crematorium rather than a service at the church as well.

For others the idea of a low cost direct funeral without a service is their ideal choice when it comes to simple cremation options; either way hopefully this guide has helped you understand the difference. Alternatively if you would like to talk through the options and discuss your own individual needs, please call us on our free phone number 0800 133 7656.

Can you have a direct cremation in Scotland?

Yes you can have a direct funeral in Scotland but as the law is slightly different, only certain providers offer this service.

Please contact us by email or call us on 0800 133 7656 and we can arrange to send you a more appropriate brochure.

Can I have a direct burial?

If you prefer direct burial to direct cremation services, you would either need to speak with your local funeral director or you could speak to Respect as they offer a direct burial service at one of their woodland burial parks.

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