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Deciding what to do with ashes

After a cremation, there are a number of things you can do with your loved one’s ashes.

Choosing your loved one’s final resting place

Deciding what to do with the ashes is a highly personal decision. But there’s no rush, and there’s no right or wrong thing to do. If you need help to make a decision or to make arrangements for the ashes, we are always here to help.

Unless you’ve chosen to have your loved one’s ashes buried or scattered at the crematorium, we’ll collect the ashes for you and keep them safe until you’re ready to pick them up. Most people collect the ashes within a year, but if that comes round too quickly and you still haven’t decided what to do, don’t worry, we will be in touch.

Things to think about

There are generally three main things to do with ashes – bury them (also known as interment), scatter them or keep them.

If you’re not sure what to do, there are a number of things to think about that might help you decide:

  • Did your loved one mention what they’d like you to do?
  • Do you want to have a ‘grave’ – somewhere you can visit your loved one and have time for reflection and remembrance?
  • Would you like a headstone or memorial tablet?
  • Do you want to have future generations or other members of the family in the same place after they have passed?
  • Would you like a service or memorial?
  • Or would you prefer to keep your loved one close by?

Interment, or burial, of ashes

Where to bury the ashes

You can choose to have ashes buried at the crematorium, in a churchyard or cemetery, or on private land.

If you’d like the ashes buried at the crematorium, a churchyard or cemetery, we can help you arrange this. There’s usually a fee and a permit may be needed, but we can help you organise these.

You don’t need a permit to bury ashes on private land, but if the land isn’t yours, you will need to make sure you have permission.

What can ashes be buried in

It depends on where the ashes are being buried, and each place tends to have its own rules. Some places don’t allow metal urns or containers, some must be biodegradable and others prefer no container at all. We can usually tell you (or find out) the requirements for where the ashes will be buried.

Burial ceremonies and committal services

You may like to hold a committal service when the ashes are buried, but this isn’t essential.

It can be led by a minister, celebrant, funeral director, family member or friend, and usually includes a few words, such as a poem, prayer or reading. We can of course help you arrange this if you’d like.

If you’d like a headstone or tablet for your loved one’s final resting place, we can help.

Scattering ashes

Scattering ashes gives you a little more flexibility, with many people choosing to scatter ashes at their loved one’s favourite place, be that a beach, woodland, a back garden or even in fireworks or space. You can also have them scattered at the crematorium or in a cemetery. Whatever you decide to do, we can usually help arrange it.

Getting permission to scatter ashes

You may need to ask permission to scatter ashes, especially on private land. We can give you advice if you’re unsure whether you’ll need it.

What to scatter ashes from

If you know you’d like to scatter the ashes, we recommend scatter urns or pods for keeping and transporting the ashes. They’re made from 90% recycled material and 100% biodegradable and come in a huge range of beautiful designs.

They are carefully printed for a seamless design, with no unsightly join line or air hole. There is a special scatter hole close to the edge for easy scattering.

You can also get smaller, matching keepsakes if you’d like to keep a small amount of the ashes.

A small selection of the available designs

Keeping the ashes

If you’d like to keep your loved one close, ashes can be kept in more or less anything – although we would recommend something designed for the job such as a traditional urn or casket, a modern Earthurn or a ScatterPod. You could also use a small amount of your loved one’s ashes to create a piece of jewellery or a keepsake.

Whatever you choose to keep the ashes in, we recommend keeping them in a cool, dry spot, not in a shed or bathroom, as they can go solid if they get damp.


Our wide range of ashes caskets are sourced from countries around the world. Carefully made by skilled artisans, in ethically sound workshops and made from locally sourced, natural materials.

ScatterPods and tubes

Made from 90% recycled materials, fully biodegradeable and available in a range of beautiful designs, ScatterPods and tubes are also an excellent option for keeping your loved one’s ashes safe.

Jewellery and keepsakes

You can choose to use a small amount of your loved one’s ashes to create jewellery and keepsakes. We work with Ashes into Glass Jewellery, run by craftsmen James Watts, Bill Rhodes and their team at Barleylands Glassworks in Billericay, Essex.

They expertly layer together cremation ashes, coloured glass crystals and clear molten glass to create a beautiful, lasting tribute to the one you hold dear. Each stone is unique and just like your loved one, will possess it’s own character.

You only need around a teaspoon of ashes, and any that aren’t used will be returned.

Talk to us about your loved one’s ashes

Whether you’d like to talk through the options or want to arrange something, we’re here to help.

Need support or reassurance?

Or want to ask a question. We’re here for you at any time of day or night.

What to do when somebody dies

A guide explaining the practical steps you need to take following the death of a loved one, and information about financial support.

— Est. 1867 Design & DevelopmentWebsite by CHOPS.

Contact us

We endeavour to respond to every email as soon as we can. You can call at any time of day or night. There will always be someone to take your call.