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First time to London - 6 nites in Aug - stay in London only??

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Hello All, this will be my first trip to London. I want to do the city trip (major sights etc). I need help and suggestion in shaping the trip.

1) I have a 6 nights round trip to/from London at the end of Aug. Do I need 6 days to do the London city trip and hence stay in London only? If only 4-5 days is adequate, should I do an overnight trip to a nearby town? Or just do day trips and base in London?

2) If day trips are possible, any suggestion on which towns? Bath, Cotswolds etc??

3) Should I joint a tour bus or go independent for day trips? Should I book tour ride or bus ticket beforehand or buy them when I am there?

3) London hotel. Since my trip is in Aug, should I book now? Many good prices are non-cancelable and non-refundable, I don't want to book now and limit myself of the possibility to visit somewhere other than the city. Unless, base on your suggestion, I can use London as a base for the trip.

4) London hotel. I like a central convenient location for city touring and dining (close to metro and some attractions within walking distance of 1 mile or so). I am hoping to find something around 150pounds+/-10% for a double room. I am looking at Novotel London City South since it is close to metro, Borough market and walking distance to many places. Any comment or suggestion?

Thank you so much.

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