Natural grey headstone in a cemetery.

The choice between burial and cremation is a very personal one and may be influenced by many factors, including family tradition, religious or non-religious views or the wishes of the person who has died.

What is a burial?

A burial is a ceremony held after the main funeral service, where mourners attend the graveside and pay their respects as the coffin is lowered into the grave.

Burial costs

There are often fees for opening graves and replacing headstones. These charges vary by area but your local funeral director will tell you exactly how much it will be as soon as they have all the details.

Costs you need to consider for a burial might include: purchasing a new grave, reopening an existing grave and removal and replacement of existing memorials. There may be a charge for the exclusive right of burial, which means no further burials can take place in that grave without your permission. In many areas, you must purchase this if you want to put up a memorial. We can advise you on local charges.

Buying a burial plot

Buying a burial plot isn’t a difficult process, but there’re some things you need to be aware of. When someone dies, you can buy a burial plot in a cemetery or natural burial ground, but you may not own the land forever.

If there's a grave already in existence that you'd like to use, perhaps part of a family plot, then we can arrange to use that. We'll need the deeds of the grave or any documents relating to the grave. If these aren’t in your possession, we can help you locate them. We can also check that there's space for further burials.

How do you buy a burial plot?

To buy a burial plot in a church yard, cemetery or natural burial ground, you’ll need to contact the owner of the land to check availability and cost. In the UK, this will either be owned by a local authority or a church. There are also some privately owned burial grounds, including woodland burial grounds.

At Co-op Funeralcare, our funeral directors can buy a burial plot in a cemetery or woodland burial ground on your behalf.

It’s also possible to buy a burial plot before a death, if you wish to plan for your own funeral arrangements, you can contact the plot owner directly.

Exclusive Right of Burial

It’s important to know that when you buy a burial plot, you’re not buying the ownership of the land forever. Local authorities will sell the lease on a plot of land, so you’re buying the right to bury someone there for a certain amount of time.

The lease, or deed, that you are purchasing is known as the Exclusive Right of Burial. Exclusive Right of Burial is the lease of a burial plot for a set number of years. Whilst you own the lease, nobody else can be buried in the plot, but it’ll eventually expire.

How long does a burial plot last in the UK?

Like a lease on a house, most burial plots are sold for a set amount of time. These leases typically last for between 25 and 100 years.

Before the lease expires, the owner will be contacted by the land owner to see if they wish to renew. If not, the headstone may be removed for collection by the owner.

Do cemeteries buy back burial plots?

If a lease isn't renewed, the council may resell the remaining space in the plot. However, existing burials will not be removed or disturbed.

What happens when a cemetery is full?

Unfortunately, there's a shortage of space for burial plots in the UK. It’s often recommended to buy a burial plot in advance, particularly if family members wish to be buried together.

If the cemetery of choice is full, your funeral director will be able to look at alternative options for you. You might want to look into using burial plots of other family members.

How to transfer ownership of the burial plot?

It’s possible to have family members buried in the same plot as each other. When you buy the Exclusive Right to Burial, you’ve the right to choose who's buried in that plot. The registered owner of a burial plot can also assign the rights to another family member for joint ownership.

How much does a burial plot cost?

Due to the shortage of space, burial plots can be expensive. The cost of a burial plot will depend on the location and the type of burial plot you want.

Non-residents often pay higher fees for a grave than residents of the local council. Burial plots for children and cremated remains are a lot cheaper than standard plots. Single burial plots are cheaper than plots purchased for multiple caskets.

The cost of a burial plot in the UK can be anything from £450 to £4,500. Your local funeral director will be able to help you with the different options available for your price range and requirements.

How do I find a burial plot?

Contact your local council for a list of burial plots in your area, either in cemeteries or natural burial grounds.

If it’s a loved one who has died and you’re not local, our funeral directors can help you to make all the necessary arrangements.