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Watford named as the UK’s most expensive place to die

Funeral directors in Watford are charging 37 percent more than the UK average, reinforcing the notion of the ‘Watford Gap’, according to new research by funeral comparison website Beyond.

The English town is the most expensive place to have a funeral, at an average cost of £5,814 – putting London at second place at £5,749, with Redhill in third at £5,352. The price of the average UK funeral is now £4,241.

This represents a rise of 33 percent in only two years as in 2016, the average was £3,190.

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. For their services alone, customers may pay an average of £3,573, and this is before the added cost of the cremation or burial.

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.

Funerals in Guildford, Liverpool and Brighton are all more than £5,000 on average, as they are in Newport, which is comfortably the most expensive place in Wales at £5,149 and the sixth priciest in the UK overall. By contrast, Cardiff ranks 75th at an average cost of £3,812.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Aberdeen ranks as costliest, with an average funeral in the Granite City being £4,942 – the next priciest Scottish cities are Perth (£4,586, 25th), Inverness (£4,495, 32nd) and Motherwell (£4,245, 53rd).

Beyond’s extensive research takes into account the fact that cremations are more popular than burial, meaning these numbers are far more reflective of the true UK average funeral costs.

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “It looks like a football league but this is one table you don’t want to be topping. 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.”


The UK’s top ten most expensive places to die:

  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

Table of top 50 most expensive places to die:

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

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