The UK's most expensive places to hold funerals, according to a new study

Nick Charity
New figures reveal a shocking imbalance in funeral costs, with ceremonies now topping £6,000 in some parts of the country

Watford has been ranked as the most expensive place to hold a funeral in the UK, according to a study.

Mourners in the Hertfordshire town are paying 37 per cent more to cover the costs of burying a loved one compared to the national average.

Funeral comparison website Beyond said undertakers were "making a killing" in Watford and charging an average of £5,814 - £60 more than a typical ceremony in London.

London was the second most expensive place for funerals, charging an average of £5,749 and Redhill was in third place, charging £5,352, according to the figures.

It said in a statement that came with the findings: "The ‘Watford Gap’ is back and this time it’s because funeral directors seeking to make a killing are charging 37 per cent more than the UK average.

The UK's ten 'most expensive places to die'

Figures from research by comparison site, Beyond

1. Watford (£5,814)

2. London (£5,749)

3. Redhill (£5,352)

4. Guildford (£5,317)

5. Liverpool (£5,157)

6. Newport (£5,149)

7. Brighton (£5,013)

8. Halifax (£4,976)

9. Salisbury (£4,959)

10. Aberdeen (£4,942)

Funeral costs have risen 33 per cent in the last two years, from to £4,241, the company added.

"This spike is being fuelled by price hikes among the big chains, who have raised their already-high fees by more than £500 in two years.

"Meanwhile, independent funeral directors, who represent roughly a third of the market, have actually been found to have dropped their fees over the past 12 months."

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “A lack of transparency in the funeral market is what’s fuelling price rises, particularly among the big chains.

“Death means big business, with half a million Brits dying every year, but a disinclination to shop around is resulting in mourners, who are often vulnerable, paying over the odds.”

Co-operative funeral care challenged the figures - stating that 81 per cent of people opt for cremation over a burial, and their figures show the average fees for funeral directors were at £2,810, or £3,900 including third party fees.

Here is the full table of Beyond's figures:

Rank

Town

Overall average cost

Rank

Town

Overall average cost

1

Watford

£5,814

26

Nottingham

£4,579

2

London

£5,749

27

Oxford

£4,570

3

Redhill

£5,352

28

Lincoln

£4,538

4

Guildford

£5,317

29

Leicester

£4,506

5

Liverpool

£5,157

30

Gloucester

£4,503

6

Newport

£5,149

31

Cambridge

£4,501

7

Brighton

£5,013

32

Inverness

£4,495

8

Halifax

£4,976

33

Luton

£4,484

9

Salisbury

£4,959

34

Hull

£4,451

10

Aberdeen

£4,942

35

Dorchester

£4,445

11

Durham

£4,854

36

Wigan

£4,440

12

Hemel Hempstead

£4,813

37

Wolverhampton

£4,440

13

Coventry

£4,752

38

Milton Keynes

£4,433

14

Southend-On-Sea

£4,701

39

Huddersfield

£4,419

15

Medway

£4,696

40

Stevenage

£4,413

16

Hereford

£4,695

41

Worcester

£4,395

17

Tonbridge

£4,689

42

Bath

£4,380

18

Northampton

£4,665

43

York

£4,380

19

Slough

£4,660

44

Bournemouth

£4,378

20

Bristol

£4,657

45

Reading

£4,366

21

Canterbury

£4,650

46

Sheffield

£4,361

22

Wakefield

£4,643

47

Dartford

£4,347

23

Enfield

£4,615

48

Doncaster

£4,345

24

Lancaster

£4,597

49

Cleveland

£4,308

25

Perth

£4,586

50

Birmingham

£4,265

A spokeswoman added: "Co-op has held prices on its most affordable funeral options for over two years. So again, we would strongly challenge the claims about larger providers being solely behind the rises."