(Reuters) -London stocks inched higher on Tuesday, with investors eyeing key domestic inflation data and the Bank of England's policy decision this week, while losses in Ashtead Group capped gains.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 8,164.21 points.

The benchmark has been drifting between the 8,100 and 8,200 levels for the past couple of weeks, with a steeper decline expected if the index dips below the 8,100 mark.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 also rose 0.3%.

"The FTSE is struggling to move above that 8,200 level because we're seeing a consolidation phase ahead of inflation data and the Bank of England decision. We're waiting for the next catalyst," Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index said.

Britain's consumer price index data is due on Wednesday, while the BoE decision will be out on Thursday.

"There is a sense of optimism surrounding the inflation reading, which is expected to fall to 2%, which is the Bank of England target - it will help the BoE feel more comfortable about an August cut," Cincotta said.

Citi analysts see the possibility of a rate cut by the central bank as finely balanced between August and September. They expect a policy tone that re-affirms a weak cutting bias, alongside continued dependence on economic data.

Among individual stocks, Whitbread gained 3.4%, after the Premier Inn owner reiterated its annual forecast.

The travel and leisure sector was at the top among FTSE 350 sectors, gaining 1.6%. All FTSE 350 sectors were in positive territory on the day.

Ashtead Group was the top loser on the FTSE 100, dropping 4.8% after the equipment rental firm forecast a slower growth in annual group rental revenue for fiscal 2025.

Across the pond, investors were keenly awaiting U.S. retail sales data expected later on Tuesday, along with insights from a host of Federal Reserve officials speaking throughout the week.

(Reporting by Pranav Kashyap in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Mrigank Dhaniwala)

By Pranav Kashyap