COCA-COLA has officially kickstarted the countdown to Christmas as it announces the return of its iconic Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour.

The schedule was released today (November 12) but Reading hasn't made the cut - for the second year in a row.

The red truck, which has become synonymous with the build up to Christmas, is an exciting sight during the festive period, but those hoping to catch a glimpse in the town or elsewhere in Berkshire may have to travel further afield, with Watford being the closest to the area, as the truck won't be travelling to the county this year.

This year, Coca-Cola has partnered with Crisis - the national homelessness charity, which is now in its 52nd year. Coca-Cola will donate 10p for each can recycled by visitors at the truck tour, with funds going to Crisis to help people out of homelessness. The initiative not only aims to help the charity, but also encourage recycling as part of Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste goal to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one sold by 2025 in Western Europe.

Continuing to bring festive magic to people across Great Britain ahead of the big day, the sight of the Coca-Cola Truck is often said to mark the official start of Christmas and has done so ever since it first appeared in Coca-Cola’s famous ‘Holidays Are Coming’ advert.

Kris Robbens, marketing director at Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland, said: "Christmas is all about sharing special moments with friends and loved ones and we’re looking forward to spreading the festive cheer across Great Britain again this year with our iconic Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour.

"Whilst Christmas is a moment of celebration, it’s also incredibly important to remember those that need support throughout the season.

"So, we’re really pleased to partner with Crisis and whilst guests at the tour enjoy a refreshing Coca-Cola zero sugar, when they recycle their can, they’ll be helping to support an amazing charity."

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said: "Everyone in our society should have a safe and secure home. But right now, many people are denied this basic human need. None of us should be facing the prospect of a Christmas without a home.

"We know that ending homelessness is absolutely possible. We’re delighted to be working with Coca-Cola throughout its iconic Christmas Truck Tour and receiving a donation that will help us to continue to be there for the people that need us, both at Christmas and all year round.”

Reading Chronicle:

The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour schedule includes the following stops, which will be open from 12pm and the queue for entry will close at 7pm:

  • Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16: Newcraighall Rd, Edinburgh
  • Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16: The Hayes, St David's Dewi Sant, Cardiff
  • Tuesday, November 19 November: Asda, Creechbarrow Rd, Taunton
  • Thursday, November 21: Asda Boldon, North Rd, Boldon Colliery
  • Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23: White Rose Shopping Centre, Leeds
  • Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23: Cribbs Causeway, Bristol
  • Wednesday, November 27: Asda, Pudsey, Leeds
  • Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30: Whiteley Shopping Centre, Portsmouth
  • Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30: Marshalls Yard, Gainsborough
  • Monday, December 2 : Asda Eastlands, Manchester
  • Tuesday, December 3: Asda, Leyton Mill, London
  • Wednesday, December 4: Asda, Watford
  • Friday December 6 – Saturday, December 7: Intu Trafford Centre, Manchester
  • Friday December 6 – Saturday 7 December: Intu Merry Hill, Dudley
  • Tuesday, December 10: Sainsbury’s Beckton, London
  • Wednesday, December 11: Sainsbury’s Basildon, Essex
  • Friday December13 and Saturday, December14 : Events Square, Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port
  • Friday, December 13 and Saturday December 14: Intu Lakeside, Essex
  • Sunday, December 15 : O2 Arena, London