Burial or Cremation?

When planning a funeral one of the biggest choices that needs to be made is whether to have a burial or a cremation. For some people the choice is guided by their religious beliefs, but for most it is a personal preference that determines the choice. Below is some information regarding burials and cremations to help you make your decision. Further down the page is some information about the local crematoria and cemeteries and below that information about what you can do with the cremated remains if you chose a cremation.

Please note, it is not advisable for you to make direct contact with the crematorium to book a date and time. This is due to the fact that there are other considerations such as the availability of clergy/celebrant, and ourselves. Part of our remit is to deal with this on your behalf.

Religious Beliefs

Nearly all current Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, allow cremation as do Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. It is however forbidden by Orthodox Jews and Muslims, who are restricted to burials. Non-religious people are of course free to choose whether to have cremation or not. Most cemeteries will have a separate section for Muslim burials, however normally all Christian denominations will be buried in the same section.


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 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.

Deceased's wishes

Many people express their own wishes prior to death 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

There are two crematoria that are considered local to the Dacorum area. They are West Herts Crematorium at Garston, North Watford and the Chilterns Crematorium at Amersham. The choice of which to use is down to the person arranging the funeral, however it is important to note that additional fees may be payable for persons living outside of the catchment areas of the crematorium selected. It is also useful to consider where mourners will be traveling from for the funeral, as one may be more accessible than another.

West Herts Crematorium


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 (depending on the selection of chapel) 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 the web site (linked above) for more information about this crematorium.

Chilterns Crematorium


The crematorium in Amersham is run by the joint committee on behalf of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern and Wycombe District Councils. There are two chapels to choose from. The chapels seat approximately 80 or 150 people (depending on the selection of chapel), with standing room at the rear of the chapels for more. Similarly 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 above) for more information about this crematorium.

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.

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 double for burials of individuals not living within their catchment area.


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.