Coca-Cola Christmas Truck at Nottingham's Victoria Retail Park

Dust off your baubles, hang up the mistletoe and pop a pot of mulled wine on the hob, ‘Holidays’ have finally arrived in Nottingham – or at least they have for the thousands of people expected to rock up to the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck that is now parked up in Netherfield. Rolling into Victoria Retail Park at around 7am this morning (Thursday, December 6), the festive lorry – which made its TV debut 23 years ago – welcomed its first set of visitors in the queue at 10.30am, despite it not opening until noon. Grandparents Brigitte and John Lambert had made the journey from Gedling via Southwell for their two-year-old grandson Charlie Lambert.

Keeping warm with a coffee and sausage roll from a nearby Greggs, Mrs Lambert told Nottinghamshire Live how two generations of the family saw the arrival of the truck off telly as the official start of the Yuletide season. The 56-year-old said: “We wanted to come because our grandchildren always say that Christmas hasn’t started until they see the Coca-Cola Truck on the telly… our son has always said that that too.” Mr Lambert, 73, added: “We thought it would be chaos but the organisers told us that it’ll only really get busy at about 3pm”.

Last year, the truck visited both Victoria Retail Park and Asda car park in Mansfield with some families were waiting up to an hour and a half in the queue.

Festive snaps of you lovely lot at the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck at Victoria Retail ParkView gallery

Nicola Hartshorne, 28, was among those queuing last year. She said: “It was in the evening so it was really busy and we didn’t even get a photo,”

But the mum returned today with her brother Carl Hartshorne, 36, sons Jacob and Joshua Newham, both three,and niece Ruby Hartshorne, four, and this time they managed to bag a photo without queuing at all. Not everyone was impressed with the truck (one of three touring the UK) which parked up alongside a red North Pole-style sign saying ‘Nottingham’, a small sleigh and fake snow being pumped out from a snow machine. Stacey Wilson, 30, of Arnold had brought her two-year-old daughter Morgan for her birthday.

She said: “It’s a shame it’s not dark because I think it would look great all lit up but it’s easier to come in the day. “This is our first time. I thought it would be bigger to be honest.”

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Christmas in Nottingham

It wasn’t Tom Haywood and Jessica Williams’ first time.

The pair, 23 and 21, both of Melton Mowbray have made a Christmas tradition of visiting. Indeed Tom has been five times in both Nottinghamshire and Leicester. He said: “I’ve kept all the cans from the visits, like a Christmas decorations kind of thing.

It’s become our tradition, it’s something that happens at Christmas.” Nottinghamshire County Council has said delays are expected at the junction with A612 Colwick Loop Road on Thursday, December 6 and Friday, December 7 between noon and 8pm due to a “retail event” at Victoria Retail Park. The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck will be at Victoria Retail Park until 8pm on Friday, December 7.

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