Deciding between burial and direct cremation is a deeply personal choice. It’s potentially the biggest decision you’re going to have to make when it comes to making plans for your funeral.

But which is best - direct cremation or burial?

The truth is, there’s no right answer. The type of send off you choose comes down to your personal preference.

With that being said, there are several factors that can influence your decision, such as price, flexibility, personal or religious beliefs, and even impact on the environment.

If you’re unsure which one is best for you, this guide will give you all the information you need.

Is direct cremation or burial more affordable?

The cost difference between direct cremation or burial is becoming more apparent, with direct cremations usually being thousands of pounds cheaper than traditional funerals.

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is now £4,484. The cost of funerals is set to rise further still, reaching over £5,000 by 2025.

Though the cost of a funeral can vary depending on the location, type of funeral service, style of coffin, and any extras such as catering for the wake, it’s clear to see how funeral costs can easily run into the thousands.

The average cost for a direct cremation in the UK is £1,554 - that’s £2,930 cheaper than the cost of the average funeral.

Direct cremation costs are cheaper than traditional funerals, as there is no need for extra expense such as hearses, embalming, funeral directors fees, flowers and coffins.

With direct cremations, you will only pay for collection & care of the deceased, administration fees, cremation in a simple, traditional coffin, and delivery of the ashes.

At Celebration of Life, our direct cremations start from as little as £950.

coffin with flowers on

Is cremation or burial more flexible?

Cremations are more flexible than a burial, because you have the option to have either a service at the crematorium or later with the ashes. This is a better option if you need more time to make arrangements or gather relatives that live further away.

There are also more options when it comes to deciding what to do with the ashes. You can scatter them in a favourite spot, bury them, and many other options.

Is cremation or burial better for the environment?

This question is not easy to answer, because there are so many different factors to consider. Let’s look at both options.


Use of toxic chemicals: Chemicals such as Formaldehyde, which is toxic and carcinogenic, is used for embalming purposes. Burial carries the risk that this chemical will seep into the earth and surrounding groundwater.

Land use: One reason why direct cremations are more popular than funerals is because of the difference in cost - and that is partly because burial space is becoming more limited in the UK.

A survey conducted in 2020 showed that 1 in 5 UK cemeteries are expected to run out of burial space in the next 10 years.

Direct cremations

Fuel use: A standard cremation uses as much energy as single person would usually use in a month.

forest floor

Pros and cons of burial and direct cremations

Benefits of burials

  • Provides a permanent, physical gravesite for loved ones to visit.
  • It is considered more traditional.
  • The body can be exhumed if required.
  • It is required by some religions

Disadvantages of burials

  • Usually much more expensive than a cremation.
  • Can contribute to overcrowding of cemeteries.
  • Difficult for loved ones who live far away to visit.

Benefits of direct cremations

  • It is more affordable than a burial.
  • It is generally considered more environmentally friendly.
  • Does not contribute to overcrowded cemeteries.
  • It is portable - ashes can be transported easily.
  • Families have more time to decide what they’d like to do with the ashes after the body has been cremated.
  • You can still have a funeral service or burial after the cremation, if desired.

Disadvantages of direct cremations

  • It is a permanent decision - cannot be exhumed at a later date.
  • In some cases, cremations can be against the deceased or a member of their family’s personal or religious beliefs.
coffin surrounded by flowers

Is cremation or burial best for me?

There are many things to consider when it comes to arranging a burial or direct cremation for a loved one, or planning one for yourself. The truth is, it’s completely down to personal preference.

The option that you feel most comfortable with will be the deciding factor, whether you’re arranging a funeral for a loved one, or making plans for yourself ahead of time.

As Great Britain’s leading direct cremation partner, you’ll receive a great value service with 24/7 support from our team.

Looking to learn more about our direct cremation service? Contact our team today - we’d be more than happy to help.

Learn more about our direct cremation

Celebration of Life™ offer an industry leading direct cremation service. We are confident that we won't be beaten on price. Speak to our friendly in-house customer service team, anytime day or night.

Contact us

elderly woman