There’s no one right answer for everyone when asking this question. When planning a funeral, often families find that one of the most difficult choices that they have to make is whether to have a burial or a cremation. For some people the choice is guided by their religious beliefs, some have left instruction to ensure their wishes are carried out, but for most it is a personal preference that determines the choice.

Here is some information regarding burials and cremations to help you make your decision. We’ve included some information about the local crematoria and cemeteries and also some ideas for what you can do with the cremated remains should you go that route.

Key factors in deciding

Religious belief

One of the main determining factors as to whether people choose burial or cremation will be their religion, or the religious beliefs of the deceased.

Nearly all currently practiced Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, allow cremation. Also those of the Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. However, it is forbidden by Orthodox Jews and Muslims, who are restricted to burials.

Agnostic or atheist people are free to choose between cremation and burial by personal preference.


Most cemeteries will have a separate section for Muslim burials, however normally all Christian denominations will be buried in the same section.

Memorial options

A burial affords the opportunity of erecting a permanent memorial to the deceased in the cemetery. Many people do like to have a specific location where they can come to in the days, months and years following the funeral and remember their loved one. Memorials can be made to reflect the deceased’s life and personality and can include words of comfort or spirituality, although there may be restrictions on the material, size and design in some cemeteries and churchyards.
Many people are concerned that the process of cremation will not leave them a place for a memorial or a focus for their grief, however there are as many options for a memorial after cremation as after a burial. The cremated remains (otherwise referred to as ashes) can be scattered or interred at the crematorium, a local cemetery, a churchyard or even at sea. They can also be placed in an ornamental urn (click here to see some of our selection of caskets and urns) and kept by the family if they so desire. Crematoria will normally offer the opportunity for a plaque to be placed in the garden of remembrance or possibly on a wall and often an entry can be placed in a book of remembrance. We are happy to advise on the options available for memorials for both burials or cremations.


Typically the cost of a burial is somewhat higher than a cremation. Even taking into account the cost of additional medical paperwork, a burial in a local authority cemetery will normally be £100-200 more than the equivalent cremation. This is due to the additional cost involved in allocating specific plots of land for each burial and the cost of maintaining the cemetery. For persons living outside of the catchment area of the crematorium or cemetery the fees will be increased. Typically the catchment area of the cemetery is limited to the town in which it is situated.

A person's wishes

Prior to death, many people express their own wishes as to what they would like to happen to them.

Whilst these wishes are not legally binding, even if they are written into a will, most people will abide by these. If you have specific preference for yourself therefore it is wise to let your family and friends know so that they can honour your wishes.

Local Crematoria

Please note: There are a number of other crematoria within traveling distance of the Dacorum area, however West Herts and the Chilterns are the closest and most convenient. We advise our clients not to to book a date and time direct with the crematorium to prevent sceduling conflicts between their booking and other funerals or commitments their preferred minister or celebrant may have, or our own prior commitments. Part of our service to you is to ensure that all required elements of the funeral service are brought together.

The crematorium at Garston is run by a joint committee of five local authorities. Set in wooded, landscaped grounds the crematorium comprises two chapels, a large garden of remembrance and a baby and infant memorial garden. The chapels hold either 50 or 100 people seated but there is room in each for additional people to stand. The crematorium offers a selection of memorials, including wall plaques, dedicated rose bushes and a book of remembrance. Visit their web site (linked from the title above) for more information about this crematorium.

The crematorium in Amersham is run by Buckinghamshire County Councils. There are two chapels to choose from. The chapels seat approximately 80 or 150 people, with standing room at the rear of the chapels for more. Similar to West Herts, the crematorium offers a selection of memorials, including a book of remembrance and plaques in the woodland gardens. Visit the web site (linked from the title above) for more information about this crematorium.

Aylesbury Vale

Information to follow


Information to follow

Local Cemeteries

There are a number of local authority cemeteries in the Dacorum area. In Hemel Hempstead there are Woodwells and Heath Lane. In Berkhamsted – Kingshill, and in Tring – Aylesbury Road. Heath Lane cemetery is closed to new graves, but there are still available spaces for burials where an existing family grave is re-opened. The other three all have new graves available for either single or double-depth burials and for interment of cremated remains.

Please note: There are other cemeteries within traveling distance of the Dacorum area, however these are the most commonly used and most convenient. If you choose a cemetery outside of your own area additional fees will be payable – at time of writing all Dacorum cemeteries charge triple fees for burials of individuals not living within their catchment area at the time of death.


Many local churches have a churchyard for burials, however as these are of limited size they get filled very quickly and for this reason most were closed to new burials many years ago. There are still a few churches in the area that do have space for new burials, and others which are still able to inter cremated remains. These spaces are usually limited to parishioners or those who have close connections with the church in question.

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