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A miraculously well-kept secret in Kent, perfect for your intimate post funeral wake or celebration of life reception

Wakes And Alternative Funerals

The team at Chapel House Estate understand that losing a loved one is an emotional occasion and can be difficult for you and everyone around you. But we also understand that hosting a post-funeral wake or an alternative funeral, perhaps after a Direct Cremation, enables everyone to pay their respects to their loved ones doesn’t mean that it can’t be an uplifting occasion set in the perfect location.


As members of the National Federation of Funeral Directors, if you want to ensure your loved one has a wonderful send-off following the funeral or memorial service, Chapel House Estate offers exceptional catering, understanding staff, and beautiful and peaceful locations for wakes and alternative funerals. With a gorgeous garden, wild apple orchard and paddocks, the spaces enable you and your family members and friends to say their goodbyes, share memories and stories in a private and reflective location.

Which Funeral Directors to choose for your funeral?

Many local highly professional Funeral Directors are local to Chapel House Estate, but we love working with W. S. Cole & Son, an independent, family-run business. Established in 1893, Jonathan & Nicolette Cole and team are based in the delightful village of Minster, not ten minutes from Chapel House Estate.

What is a wake?

A wake often celebrates the deceased’s life. They are a send-off for someone close to you and can include whatever feels right for you and your family. Typically a wake is less formal than the ceremony which precedes it. So let us at Chapel House Estate take the worry out of the finer arrangements. We will work closely with you to meet your needs, enabling you to concentrate on friends and family.

Why choose Chapel House Estate for your wake or alternative funeral?

When organising a wake or an alternative funeral for your loved one after the crematorium service, or after a Direct Cremation, you might want to consider holding a reception for all or some of the guests that have attended the memorial service. At Chapel House, we understand that planning a post-funeral reception should be as stress-free as possible. The fantastic setting and caring team here on the Estate will help and support you to create the right wake that will be remembered exactly how you or they would have wanted.

Depending on your anticipated guest numbers, choose from the secret Walled Courtyard or Throne Barn for the perfect place to bring together loved ones of the dearly departed in memory, respect and celebration of their life. Both spaces are surrounded by beautiful gardens, allowing all friends and family privacy for their own reflections and memories.

What is a Direct Cremation and an alternative funeral?

A Direct Cremation is an increasingly popular simply cremation without a service. This offers loved ones an alternative to more traditional methods. The crematorium cremates the body and sends the ashes back to you, enabling you to plan any celebration of life in your own time and at your own choice of venue.
There are a number of alternative funeral ideas which you might want to consider giving your loved one a fitting farewell and unique way. This type of service is perfect if your loved one didn’t have any religious beliefs or perhaps you want a modern funeral which the Funeral Directors will help you arrange with us and who can put you in touch with a celebrant, or you could ask a close friend or family member to lead the service. The heart of the service is the tribute section, which usually lasts around 15 minutes, followed by time for reflection either in the Old Malt Granary or within the wild apple orchard here on the Chapel House Estate.

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The Walled Courtyard

The Walled Courtyard is offered for your exclusive use. The Walled Courtyard is perfect for smaller, more intimate wakes. The Courtyard has a lounge bar, toilets, and the No 9 Restaurant, both with air-conditioning and heating. No 9 Restaurant sits up to 60+ guests for a sit-down meal. The Courtyard area with tables and chairs provides additional outside seating during the summer. There is a private entrance and a car park. The space is available for all-day events, or you can book it for several hours.

Thorne Barn

The Thorne Barn is suitable for much larger wakes.  The purpose-built banqueting barn includes a lobby, toilets, a large bar, a private ‘green room’ bar and banqueting tables with cross-back chairs for 80 up to 150 guests, or the space can hold up to 200 standing guests, with room for. The barn has air-conditioning, heating, and a projector if you wish to put on a video or slide show.

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wedding food

Food and Drinks

If you are organizing a funeral wake, we understand that the catering also requires careful consideration, so we provide a broad selection of catering options. For a wake, you can choose from grazing boards, or go more traditional with a delicious selection of freshly cut sandwiches, a simple buffet, canapes, picky food, a sit-down afternoon tea, or a two or three-course meal, which can be tailored to suit you. Whatever you choose, we offer the perfect food for a life celebration.


For those family and friends travelling from further distances and requiring accommodation, we have 17 bedrooms on the 35-acre Estate with private car parking. In addition to the Chapel House with five bedrooms, nine Hideaway Lodges sleep up to 18 adults, and the cosy Chapel Cottage on the edge of the Estate sleeps up to six adults.

hideaway lodges

Our Team

We are a highly experienced team that is skilled, discreet, attentive, non-intrusive and sympathetic. We help you to organise a fitting occasion, leaving you to concentrate on friends and family. We work with you to make this a fond farewell and a fitting tribute to the loved one you have lost. For further details or to make an appointment to view the Chapel House Estate, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team. 

Organising a wake on the Chapel House Estate

These simple steps will help you organise a wake:

1. Who to invite to the wake?

A wake can be a private, public, intimate or large celebration. So consider when making any necessary arrangements what type of reception is right for the person and their life.

Remember, some guests may choose to attend just the wake if, for instance, they can’t make the funeral service. However, most people who attended the funeral will typically attend the wake. If you want the wake to be intimate and private, specify this when you share details about the funeral. In this case, if you want someone who wasn’t invited to the funeral to come to just the wake, you may have to send a separate invitation.

2. Choose where to hold the wake

A wake can be held anywhere you want but should ideally reflect the type of person and their guests.

3. When should you book the post-funeral reception?

It is sensible when booking the funeral to consider where everyone will gather after the funeral. So we recommend as soon as you have booked the funeral, you book the reception venue.

4. Should you hold a wake straight away?

If you’re already very busy with arranging the funeral, or you don’t feel a wake is a right choice at the time, you might consider hosting a memorial service at a later date, perhaps on a significant date like the birthday of the deceased person or the anniversary of their death. These receptions tend to be referred to as a memorial services. Memorial services give you more time to plan. 

5. How do you announce a person has passed?

You may decide to place a funeral announcement in a local newspaper or on social media so it is sensible to have chosen where the funeral and wake are to be held before making an announcement; that way, you can include the date, time and place of the funeral and wake. Here are some suggestions for your announcement:

  • The address of the funeral, the date and time
  • The address of the wake, the date, and defined the start and finish times
  • Details of the food and drink you plan to provide
  • Whether to send flowers, gifts or cards or details of a charity for guests to make a donation to
  • The dress code, whether it’s casual, formal, or all black – traditionally, the funeral dress is black, but you might prefer guests to wear bright colours or a colour that means something to the person who’s died.

6. Should you consider adding some extra activities?

Wakes can be an opportunity to remember the person who’s died in a unique and very special way. Some hosts choose to:  

  • Have music playing or invite a live musician
  • Put together a video montage, Thirne Barn only)
  • Have photo albums displayed
  • Light candles.

7. What time can you get access to Chapel House Estate?

You may need to visit us before the funeral if you wish to decorate it with photographs and don’t forget to check if it is okay to take some of the flowers from the crematorium or church to place around the venue. Accommodation permitting, some guests may also book the night before the funeral. Check-in is from 12 to midday and can include breakfast in the No9 Restaurant on each of the days that they stay.

8. What flowers do you need to include?

There is no hard and fast rules as to what flowers to choose but white flowers such as lilies and carnations are often used in funeral arrangements and most people people will book a 4ft coffin top.

If you are using the Old Malt Granary for a service then Ruth of House of Mimi Fleur also recommends two pedestals either side of the coffin.

9. Should you provide food at a wake?

Food is typically provided at a wake, and if you wish to serve your loved one’s favourite food and drink, with our onsite No 9 Restaurant, we can be flexible enough to cater for these kinds of requests.

10. How much does a wake cost?

The cost for a post-funeral wake depends on your choice of locations on the Chapel House Estate, your anticipated numbers and what food and drink you would like us to serve. Please ask for a quote based on your anticipated numbers.

11. Are there any local churches and places of worship?

Throughout Thanet and East Kent there are so many ancient and modern places of worship. The villages close to us include:

  • Ramsgate
  • Sandwich
  • Broadstairs
  • Margate
  • Birchington.

12. What do we say to guests when they ask if it is okay to order flowers?

You can agree to guests bringing flowers or nominate a charity. As members of the National Federation of Funeral Directors (NFFD) are a proud fundraiser for the Stairway to Heaven Appeal. This appeal helps provide funerals for families struggling financially who don’t want to go through the invasive process of being ‘means tested’ before receiving any financial help.

13. How much should you pay for Funeral food?

Food prices are variable depending on your number but also if you want a cold or hot option.

At Chapel House Estate, prices start from £20 pp for a cold finger buffet and £22 pp for hot bowl food, but prices are subject to change depending on your requirements (but includes VAT).

14. Crematoriums & Cemeteries near Chapel House Estate

We are based within easy reach of the following Crematoriums & Cemeteries:

  • Barham Crematorium
    Herne Bay.
  • Crematorium is under construction.
  • St John’s Cemetery, Margate.
  • St John’s Cemetery in Margate.
  • St John Churchyard.
  • Thanet Crematorium

15. What do guests drink at a Wake?

Most gatherings provide tea & coffee and ask for the bar to be open.

16. How long does a Wake usually last?

At Chapel House Estate we recommend around three hours should be ample for your guests to relax, circulate and weather permitting take in the lovely gardens before departing.

Images with kind thanks to

  • Funeral flowers House of Mimi Fleur.
  • James Documentary Photographer – Soules Photography
  • Land – Sea – Abstract Emma Stokes Photography.
  • W.S.Cole & Son

Make Something Special With Us

Golden Hour Open Evening

Thursday 22nd August, 4pm – 8pm.

Get ready for our incredible open evening!

Come and enjoy the beauty of our venue as the sun goes down. Roam around the grounds during the magical golden hour and see our estate lit up at night!

You’ll have the chance to explore the grounds, chat with our team, and also mingle with our fantastic lineup of suppliers.