The Ideal Death Show


Why would I want to go to a death weekend?

Loss. Life. Laughter. We bring them all together under one roof.

This event is for anyone who wants to stare at the sun – enjoy lectures, conversations and an exhibition about death.

It’s almost impossible to be boring when you talk about death.

In the past we’ve had an embalmer talk about her work. We’ve had a doctor talk about using recreational drugs in the treatment of the terminally ill. We’ve had a lady talk about the road trip she took with her dead mother in a camper van.

People go to Irish wakes for the party spirit – the Ideal Death Show is a wake without a corpse.

Where is the show?

At the Highcliff Marriott Hotel in Bournemouth. This used to be the central venue for the political party conferences which used to be a regular feature of the town.

The area on the West Cliff is set up to host a vibrant fringe festival. We like this symbolism. We’ll leave up to you to decide whether you’ll have more fun at our event or at the political party conferences.

What do you do?

There is a buffet reception on the Friday evening. On the Saturday we have a full programme of lectures and an exhibition.

Click here if you’d like to know about exhibiting

They will be TED-style talks from the leading thinkers and authors on this subject. On the Saturday evening you can attend the Good Funeral Awards, the annual Oscars for members of the funeral industry.

On Sunday, if you book early, you can go on a cruise from Poole Harbour, which will explain how ash scattering works. And at regular intervals we’ll be hosting death cafés in yurts. This is your chance to drink tea and eat cake and share your experiences of mortality.

How does it work?

I heard a friend talking about how she made a visit to a hospice for a business meeting. She was ushered into a room. But their meeting was disturbed by raucous laughter coming from a neighbouring room. The person went through to tell them to keep quiet. This had little impact. These were people who were terminally ill. She told my friend they were like this every week. It was a support group.

This is the spirit of the Ideal Death Show. On the one hand, we’re curious. What was going on in that room? But on the other hand, there is absolutely no way that we want to qualify to go in there!

Death is a stimulus to authentic conversation, intimacy and love of life.

Diana Athill said we should think about death for 15 minutes every day.

Try this exercise. Use our ‘death calculator‘ to estimate your day of death. We’ll be happy to add it to your name badge for the show if you email it to us.

As one of Irvin Yalom’s patients in his therapy sessions for the terminally said, what a pity it was that he had to wait until now, when he was riddled with death, to learn how to live.

We build a bridge between funeral world and the general public. We draw people from the funeral industry to the awards. While the Ideal Death Show brings in those who want to find out more about this hidden world.

Who attends?


How do we get there?

Trains to Bournemouth Station leave from Waterloo. Alternatively there is the Manchester to Bournemouth line that goes through Birmingham, Oxford, Reading and Winchester.

Southampton Airport is just 40 minutes away. You come out of the airport and the station is outside.

Where do we stay?

We’d like everyone to stay at the Highcliff. It’s a very smart hotel. We’ve negotiated a rate of £145 for a double room and £135 for a room of single occupancy. Call them on 01202 557702 to book.

Otherwise there are lots of small bed & breakfasts within 100 metres of the venue.

Where do we park?

There is car parking at the Bournemouth International Centre and in car parks around the hotel.

How much does it cost?

The Ideal Death Show ticket is £35. That covers the lectures and the death cafés. But we advise you to come for the whole weekend – the buffet on the Friday, the Good Funeral Awards dinner and the after-party on the Sunday morning. Two of you can share a room and the whole weekend will cost you less than £300 each.

After all, you can’t take it with you!