What is a Direct Cremation?

  • A dignified low cost cremation without a service
  • A fuss free simple cremation funeral
  • Direct cremation costs are cheaper than a traditional funeral
  • Sometimes known as a direct funeral

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Why do people choose a direct funeral?

Be it simplicity or wanting to cut down on the basic funeral costs, people across the UK are starting to choose a direct cremation (or direct funerals as they are known) 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 to cut costs and arrange a budget funeral
  • Would rather family hold ‘a celebration of life’ or ‘memorial service’
  • Few or no people to attend the funeral service
  • 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 the cost of a funeral

It's easy to see why direct funerals are now the fastest growing sector of the funeral market in the UK.

Demand for direct funerals is growing, appealing to an increasing number of people who want the freedom to say goodbye where when and how they choose separately from the practical part of the proceedings – and the low cost of this ultra-simple cremation makes that easier.

Direct cremations may not be for everyone; a traditional cremation service provides a familiar format, gathering friends, family and the coffin together in one place. This tradition can be comforting in itself, but there are many others who find funerals traumatic and depressing.

This guide will help you decide if a low cost simple cremation is right for you

What's the difference between a traditional funeral service and direct cremation funerals?

A good place to start is to be clear on the differences between these 2 options:

Direct Cremation

Traditional Funeral Service

The family will be advised of the process & asked whether they want the ashes Advice & support to the family from the funeral director who will take care of the arrangements
Collection of the deceased Collection of the deceased
A simple coffin Choice of coffin
Family viewing of the deceased at a chapel of rest
No choice of crematorium  Choice of crematorium
Transport to the crematorium A hearse to the crematorium
Cars for the family, if required
Cremation at a time your family will have no control over  Cremation at a time to suit your family 
No cremation service and no one in attendance Cremation service for friends and family to attend
Flowers or donations
Return of the ashes (if required) Return of the ashes (if required)
A wake or celebration
Cost between £1,100 to £2,000 Cost between £3,000 to £5000

Direct Cremation Free Guide

Standard Funeral Plan Guide

In simple terms, direct funerals are collection and cremation with no one in attendance, at a time to suit the company organising it (be that a funeral director or direct funeral services provider); as opposed to a traditional funeral service that is arranged at a time to suit the family, with a ceremony at the crematorium.

*There is a significant difference in cost between what can be considered relatively cheap direct funeral from £1,100 to £2,000, compared with the more costly traditional funeral service which currently averages around £4,000.

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Planning ahead with a prepaid direct cremation plan

If you are looking to put pre-paid plans in place and arrange a direct funeral in advance, there are now a few options available to you. You can of course talk to a local funeral director to see if they offer direct funeral services but do keep in mind what would happen if you moved away or the funeral director went out of business.

direct funeralIn addition a few funeral plan providers have now started to offer Prepaid Direct Cremation Funeral Plans but there is one company that is completely dedicated to direct cremation which is Pure Cremation.

About the Pure Cremation Direct Cremation Plan

We recommend Pure Cremation as it's a family run business founded and managed by experienced funeral directors. They operate throughout the UK and Wales and for a one off fee of £1,595 (instalment options are available) they will arrange everything for you including:

  • Collection of the person who has died anywhere in England or Wales
  • Doctor’s fees if applicable
  • Cremation fees (for a crematorium specified by Pure Cremation)
  • A solid pine eco-coffin
  • Transport to the crematorium
  • Scattering of ashes in the Garden of Remembrance or hand delivery of ashes with 28 days
  • additional charges will be made for ferry crossing

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.

Payment Options

You can choose to pay for your Pure Cremation Direct Cremation Plan with one payment of £1,595 or spread your costs over 6 months without incurring any additional fees. Alternatively if you prefer you can spread your costs between 1 and 5 years – details as follows:

Period Monthly Payment Total Amount Payable
6 months £265.83 £1,595
12 months £138.23 £1,659
24 months £71.78 £1,723
36 months £49.62 £1,786
48 months £38.55 £1,850
60 months £31.90 £1,914

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Is a direct cremation right for you?

Whatever your preferred funeral style it is vital to tell friends and family about your wishes. That way they will know how to “get it right”.

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 to you. It’s far better to cover this long before your family are distressed and grieving.

Many people really embrace the idea of a celebration of life or memorial service somewhere more relaxed and informal than the local crematorium. The flexibility to wait until everyone can gather, to hold this event at the weekend and to focus on the life rather than the death are other appealing factors.

Some will hold this farewell once the ashes have been returned, choosing a final resting place that holds happy memories and can be revisited as part of a holiday or favourite walk.

You may recall that David Bowie famously had a direct funeral and was cremated without a service in January 2016.

Where can I buy a simple direct cremation?

direct cremation funeralDirect cremations are growing in popularity and demand for this type of cheap cremation only service is on the increase, helped by the low cost. In fact a recent report into the cost of dying stated that of the funeral directors surveyed, 1 in 10 of the funerals arranged that year were for direct cremation.

Many people are using the search term “cheapest funeral” so there is clear demand for lower cost funerals. As a result, more funeral directors and funeral plan companies are offering direct cremations to families who need to arrange a cremation now, and prepaid direct cremation funeral plans for the future.

Here are the leading direct cremation providers in the UK:

We’ve looked at the various direct cremation providers and decided to recommend Pure Cremation to our customers. They are one of the few specialist direct cremation companies dedicated to providing both at need and prepaid direct cremation services across the whole of England & Wales, and are highly rated by the people they have served.

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Click here if you have just lost someone & wish to make arrangements now

For immediate help please call 0800 133 7656

If you are looking to arrange a direct funeral for someone now, you can either speak to your local funeral directors or perhaps the crematorium to see who offers this type of service. Alternatively you could choose a specialist direct cremation company such as Pure Cremation.

We recommend Pure Cremation to our customers seeking simple cremation funerals as they are experienced funeral directors who provide low cost direct cremation funeral services throughout England and Wales. They are also the only company in the UK dedicated to direct cremation.

For just a one off fee of £1,195, they will arrange everything for you including:

  • Scheduled collection of the person who has died from a hospital or coroner’s mortuary in England or Wales (collection from home, a nursing home or hospice at any time day or night plus arrangement of medical certificates from GPs can be arranged for an additional cost of £250)
  • Doctors Fees where applicable
  • Cremation fees (for a crematorium specified by Pure Cremation)
  • A solid pine eco-coffin
  • Transportation to the crematorium
  • Scattering of ashes in the Garden of Remembrance or hand delivery of ashes with 28 days

For more information please call us on 0800 133 7656 and ask for information on direct funerals at time of need.

What if a direct cremation is not for me?

If you are looking for a simple or cheap cremation but don’t like the idea of the more stripped back direct funeral option, many 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 service to a time when the crematoriums are usually quiet. Others reduce the allowance that is included for third party cremation prices 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 considering the eye watering cremation prices in certain areas of the country.    

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.

It’s worth mentioning that whatever option you choose, always read the small print. The cheapest funeral plan may seem like the best option but keep in mind that old adage – if something is too good to be true, it probably is! 

Frequently asked questions

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

A direct funeral is a cheap alternative to a traditional funeral. Arrangements are made for the collection and simple cremation but there are no family or friends in attendance and no funeral service.

Once the cremation has taken place, ashes can be given back to the family if requested.

Whilst a DIY funeral maybe the cheapest funeral UK, a direct cremation is probably the most realistic way for most people of arranging a budget funeral.

What is the cheapest funeral I can have?

The cheapest funeral costs depend on the services you require, so opting for a cheap coffin and no funeral service will reduce the price. Therefore a direct funeral could certainly be a lower cost and possibly a more affordable option 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 funeral services for yourself and want to cut 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 prices which include a cremation service 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.

Some simple cremation providers will charge you a fixed price as they use one crematorium. Others will use the crematorium that's local to you, so costs may vary depending on where you live. Direct Funeral service providers will also use crematoriums at quieter times, which also cuts down on costs.

Direct cremation prices start from £1,095.

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 attend the direct cremation?

Because the body is cremated at a time to suit the crematorium and direct provider, you or your family will be unable to attend the cremation. Don't forget there will be no service or attendees as this is a no frills funeral.

The reality is that the cremation will take place when the crematorium is quiet and typically out of normal hours to keep the costs down.

Can I pre-purchase a simple direct cremation plan?

Yes, some providers are now also offering pre-purchase 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

Direct cremations are an alternative to a simple funeral.

A funeral is the ceremony connected to the disposing of the body including cultures and traditions, so without this the only way to dispose of the body is with a cremation or burial without a service.

Often people refer to wanting to have a simple funeral meaning a traditional service without any extras, such as flowers and perhaps only one service at the crematorium rathar than a service at the church aswell.

Although the expression "simple funeral" for some people could mean a low cost direct funeral, either way hopefully this guide has helped you understand the difference - we will be happy to discuss your individual needs on 0800 133 7656 or you can request a brochure here.

Where is my money held with a prepaid direct cremation plan?

Your money is held in the Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Trust which is a separate entity to Pure Cremation and managed by a leading UK Fund Manager. The Trust will only release funds for the payment of the direct funeral if proof of death is provided such as a copy of the death certificate.

Will my family have more to pay if i take out a plan?

The professional fees included in the plan are fully guaranteed with nothing more to pay, along with a contribution based on today’s true prices for those costs that are beyond Pure Cremations’s control – namely the cremation and doctors fees. The combination of positive performance of the fund along with Pure Cremations purchasing power means it is very unlikely there will be anything more to pay for the services included in the plan.

What if my family prefer a traditional funeral service?

If your family prefer to arrange a traditional funeral service when the time comes, then the money within your plan minus the administration fee you paid at the time you purchased the direct funeral plan would be made available to contribute towards the funeral costs.

What happens if Pure Cremation goes out of business?

The trust fund where your money is held is a completely separate entity so if anything where to happen to Pure Cremation, then the trust fund remains intact. The trust fund would then either:

  • Find another company to carry out the plan
  • Refund the money minus the administration fee
  • Pay the current value of the plan to a funeral director chosen by your family

Can you have a direct cremation in Scotland?

Yes, you can have a direct cremation in Scotland, not all providers offer this so you will need to do some research to find out who provides them in your area.

Whilst Pure Cremation don't offer direct funeral in Scotland, we can recommend other companies that do.

Please ask for details.

A simple & affordable way to say goodbye to a loved one

prepaid direct funeral plan

You can choose from a simple direct cremation prepaid plan or a more comprehensive funeral plan.

Costs start from £1,595

Our guide will help you understand the differences and your options.

A funeral plan gives you the chance to arrange your funeral so your family won’t need to do anything.

Just one phone call when the time comes and the funeral director will take care of everything

Call us today

0800 133 7656

or request a

Free Guide


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