direct cremation

What is a Direct Cremation & How Does Direct Cremation Work?

A Direct Cremation (or Simple Cremation) is an affordable way to cremate a body that does not include a funeral service and the cremation is not attended by a funeral cortege of family, friends or visitors which means costs are cheaper.

No Funeral Just Cremation: Explaining a Direct Cremation Unattended Funeral

The recent rise in costs of cremation aswell as funeral costs in general has given rise to this new trend of simple cremations as a cost-effective way to say goodbye to a loved one. When conducting a direct cremation, there typically is no official funeral service, which means the crematorium can perform the direct cremation at a less busy time. This also means no family or friends are able to attend the cremation with the ashes being delivered to the family after the cremation takes place, this makes direct cremation a much cheap option when arranging a funeral.

Opting for a direction cremation doesn’t stop you holding your own celebration after (or before) the cremation. A lot of families opt for a direct cremation and then arrange a celebration of life memorial service with the ashes at a time to suit them or during the scattering of ashes celebration.

Rising Trend of Direct Cremation

How to Arrange a Direct Cremation at a Crematorium without a Funeral Service

Now we know what is a direct cremation is, you might want to know how to arrange one.

Arranging and planning a funeral after someone has died is a horrible task, we have attempted to answer all of your questions and guide you through the process below, if you have any more questions about arranging a direct cremation, or anything else funeral-related, please contact us.

If you are considering a direct cremation, my first point of advice would be to tell your funeral director (if you are using one) asap, so they know. Some funeral directors do not offer direct cremation as a service so its best to be upfront as early as possible.

How Much Does a Direct Cremation Cost?

The cost of a direct cremation will be between £1200-£1500 in the UK.

Direct cremations are a lot cheaper than traditional funerals due to the fact that bodies tend to be cremated quite quickly after death, cutting down storage costs. The service is conducted during quiet times to escape premium fees and extra planning. Typically a low-cost coffin is used and because there is no wake or people present to see the body, embalming is not required.

Find out the cheapest direct cremation service in the UK
direct cremation

Companies Offering Direct Cremation

Below I have listed the 5 most popular companies that offer a direct cremation service in the UK along with their prices. These are Co-op cremations, Simplicity Cremations, Distinct Cremations, & Pure Cremations.

Using these funeral companies will mean you do not need a funeral director.

Our Reviews

We have reviewed the direct cremation market in detail to provide a clear guide to what services are available.
We recommend direct cremation service providers, based on your needs.

Please note I have no previous experience with any of these companies, we are not responsible for their direct cremation or any other of their funeral services.

SERVICEdirectcremation co uk logosimplicity cremations logopure cremation logocelebration of life cremations logoco-op_funeral_cremation_logodistinct cremations logo
LIST PRICE£895£995£1,295£795£995£895
OUT-OF-HOURS COLLECTION£250£195£250£250?£250
DOCTORS FEE£82yesyes£82£82£82
DRESS THE DECEASEDClothing worn by the deceased at time of collection or simple gownSimple Gownonly clothing worn by the
deceased at time of collection
Simple GownSimple Gownonly clothing worn by the deceased at time of collection
OPTION FOR OWN CLOTHESNoNoThey will drape clothes over the body but not dress them£50Noyes
REMOVAL OF MEDICAL DEVICES£100Subject to detailsyesyes?yes
COFFINEco friendly wooden coffinDark Wood Effectsolid woodMedium Density FibreboardBasicVeneer Chipboard
MAX. TIME BETWEEN COLLECTION & CREMATIONUnspecified‘within a few days’14 daysUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
OPTION FOR MOURNERS TO ATTENDno£400-£900£250-£400nono£300
CHOICE OF CREMATORIUMnoattended only optionNoFee depends on locationnoAttended option only
DELIVERY OF ASHES£91£75Yes£100£50 to funeral homeyes
MAX. TIME FOR ASHES DELIVERY AFTER CREMATIONunspecified28 days21 days28 days21 days14 days

Cheapest Direct Cremation Service

There are a number of different services in the UK offering a low-cost alternative to traditional cremations and a traditional funeral. Usually, you will be able to find a local traditional funeral operator in your area and this will oftentimes be cheaper than going for a well know brand such as the cooperative. Our advice would be to contact a couple of your local funeral directors and ask exactly how much they charge for direct cremation and compare them to one of the nationwide services to see how they stack up.

Alternatively, please fill in the below form, click send and we will be in touch with a recommended, authorised funeral provider in your area – all included in our service.

Co-op Funeral Care

Co-op funeral care tends to be the most popular choice in the market due to their huge presence in the UK. Their costs are comparable to the other funeral services with the major difference being that it seems they do not offer the choice of an attended cremation for mourners.

How Does an Unattended Direct Cremation differ from a Traditional Cremation Service?

What is the difference between direct cremation vs traditional cremation?

I first want to say that I am neither for or against direct cremation, the info below is just an outline of what you can expect for each. Each service is 100% dependant on the family and your choice/religion.


When someone dies, the traditional route is to call your local funeral director who will handle most of the process and planning. The funeral director will:

  1. Come and collect the deceased
  2. Handle the care and preparation of the body
  3. Consult you on your preference of funeral service or cremation service (flowers, cars, times, location, coffin, urn)
  4. Handle all of the paperwork and legal documentation for you
  5. Arrange for the collection of the ashes and return of ashes to you
  6. Help arrange after-funeral options (burying ashes, scattering ideas/celebrations, purchase of headstones etc)
  7. Be available if you have any questions and to help support you


With direct cremation, a lot of this is skipped or handled by the company you appoint. You provide your chosen funeral company with the information of the deceased and they will:

  1. Collect the body and arrange the care
  2. Arrange all paperwork and legal documents
  3. Arrange a no frills cremation service directly with the crematorium at a time and place to suit them
  4. They will deliver the ashes back to you at a designated time (extra costs might be applicable here)
    * additional aspects to the service can be paid for including attending the cremation and delivery of the ashes to you

AVERAGE COST – £3,312.43


Scattering Ashes

If you plan a direct cremation then you will be left with the ashes and must decide what to do. Options include, scattering them at the crematorium garden of remembrance, placing them within an urn for ashes to be kept or buried, or scatter the ashes, we have provided some extra ideas for scattering ashes in our resource.

cremation urn

Direct Cremations in Scotland

Costs are cheaper in Scotland due to slightly different rules for doctors notes and generally cheaper crematorium fees.
Co-op, Simplicity & Memoria all offer direct cremation in Scotland as will most local funeral directors.
Co-op direct funeral costs reduce to  £1,230 for Scottish residents.

What are direct funerals?

A direct funeral, much like direct cremations are a type of low cost funeral that looks to reduce the cost by removing the service and other non-essential elements from the funeral session remembrance. They are popular with people who may have limited money or those that simply have specifically requested to have a very basic ceremony.
This may include a direct burial whereby the body is taken straight from the funeral home to the place of burial. At the very basic end, there will be no one present and the funeral director will choose a time to suit all parties in a bid to keep the costs as low as possible.
A direct funeral will tend to be more expensive than a direct cremation funeral mainly due to the cost of the land which is required for burial and the added job of arranging the grave to be prepared.

direct burial coffin

Life insurance, funeral plans & prepaid direct cremation plans

Often times life insurance policies can be bought with the provision of including a payout that goes towards a funeral, you will need to check with individual companies to check their options. These are called funeral plans.

Alternatively, you can purchase a dedicated prepaid funeral plan from a variety of different companies. Options range from including aspects of equity release so your estate can help cover the costs to straight cash lump sums so that you do not need to worry about the cost of your send-off when the tie does come.

As a final option, if you have thought ahead and you are certain that you would like a direct cremation when you pass, you now have the option of purchasing a prepaid direct cremation plan in the UK. These funeral plans, much like traditional funeral plans, cover all costs involved with a direct cremation, but because the service is a lot cheaper, the rate of your plan will be much lower. This is a great option if you are sure you would like a no-frills goodbye at the end of your life.

We have compared the best pre-paid direct cremation funeral plans available in the UK for your consideration.

We would always recommend you take time to compare all of the prepaid funeral plans on offer from each provider and weigh up the resources, where there is money at stake, you will always run into companies who do not operate with the best intentions at heart. Companies like Sunlifeco-op and DignityFunerals are the authority companies in the market, you can be sure they are regulated and comply with the strict financial conduct authority, so look at reviews and go with the one you feel most comfortable with.

Remember, you are under no obligation to sign up to any of them, take your time and consider every option – it also might be advisable to discuss the choice with a registered solicitor.

Bereavement support is available in some instances, it is worth reading the options offered by the government 

Frequently Asked Questions About Direct Cremation

Can You Be Cremated Without a Coffin?

Yes, the alternative is a shroud. The body must be covered or enclosed in one of these items

Do the Coffins get Cremated too? 

Yes. This is another reason why the cremation costs can be a lot less, there is no need for a fancy coffin because there will be no one attending the crematorium. Most direct cremation services use cardboard coffins or bamboo shrouds to keep costs low

Do the Clothes Stay On During the Process?

Yes. The body is usually cremated in the state it was before death.

What Fees Do I need to Pay?

This will depend on the service provider you go with, but the below fees are applicable when arranging a direct cremation
Doctors Fees
Cremation Fee
Other fees might include the collection of the body from a private place or an additional fee if the death was unexplained or an accident due to the coroner needing to be involved.
Further Reading Related to ‘Direct Cremation’