When the South Eastern Railway opened in 1842, the concerns of local merchants meant that Maidstone was bypassed by the new main line. It would be another decade or so before a branch line linked the town, and the station buildings and platform canopies of Maidstone West date back to that time. Trains to Maidstone West travel on the Medway Valley Line between Strood and Tonbridge, both of which offer onward connections to London.
The town centre and the High Street, with its mix of historic and modern architecture, are a seven-minute walk east of the station, on the other side of the River Medway. Maidstone has two main shopping centres: The Mall (formerly Chequers) is at the far end of the High Street from the station; the second, Fremlin Walk, is to the north, close to both the Hazlitt Arts Centre and the Maidstone Museum, where you will also find the Maidstone Visitor Information Centre.