Arts Council England Designated Outstanding Collection Logo

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest biological society and has in its care several important collections, including those of the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and the Society’s founder, Sir James Edward Smith.

Designated a collection of outstanding national importance by the Arts Council England in 2014, the holdings of the Linnean Society (which include library, archive and biological material) provide an unsurpassed resource for the study of natural history.

Christmas and January closures

The Library will be closed for Christmas from Friday 23 December 2022. The Library will further be closed for the first two weeks of January for our annual housekeeping, and will reopen to readers on Tuesday 17 January 2023.

Please note that in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we may need to revise our opening hours at short notice. Please check these pages for the latest information

The Library and Archives opening times are TuesdaysFridays, 10am–5pm.

If you would like to make an appointment, please email To ensure your visit is Covid-secure, and allow adequate time to retrieve material, we ask that appointments are made at least 48 hours in advance if possible. All visitors to the Library will be asked to follow the Society’s ongoing Covid-mitigation guidelines (available here).

Visits to our biological specimen collections must be overseen by our honorary curators, who work at other institutions. If you wish to arrange such a visit, please contact the Collections team at least a fortnight in advance.