Maidstone occupies two hills on opposite sides of the River Medway, with the town centre lying on the east side. At this point the river cuts northwards through a greensand ridge as it flows towards Rochester and the Thames Estuary.
Historically the river has been responsible for the growth of the town, due to its capabilities as a source and route for much of the area's trade. However, it is no longer a commercial stream, instead carrying much tourist traffic.
The Rivers Teise and Beult join the River Medway to the south-west of Maidstone, while the Loose Stream and River Len enter the river in the town. Water from the latter two powered numerous watermills, and the resultant millponds on these rivers remain a prominent feature of the landscape. It is because of these that Maidstone developed an industrial base and became a nodal point for communications.
Maidstone has continued to grow, embracing various villages and hamlets within its boundaries. These include Allington, Barming, Bearsted, Penenden Heath, Sandling, Tovil and Weavering Street. The town’s population now stands at 139,000.
Although Maidstone was once a centre of industry, smaller industrial units now encircle the town. The pedestrianised areas of the High Street and King Street run up from the river crossing at Lockmeadow, and Week Street and Gabriel’s Hill bisect this route.
Maidstone is twinned with Beauvais in Picardy, France.