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Small-group day tours from London?

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I have about 6 days in London while my partner attends sessions at a conference. There's plenty to do in London on my own, of course, but I've spent little time outside of London and wonder if I could take a day-tour or two on my own. In general, independence is my preference, but for a short exploration, I'd rather not rent a car and orienteer by myself.

Many group-tours are cattle calls or thinly veiled nets to collect tourists into gewgaw country, but I'd appreciate anyone's recommendation of smaller tour companies to be trusted, experiences that went well, and specific destinations/areas to tour this way. I can't afford a private driver but had great luck with small-van tours (5-8 guests) in Provence.

Suggestions?

Thanks.

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