Lining a pastoral stretch of the Ruhr, the half-timbered houses and cobbled lanes of the suburb of Werden offer insight into what a pre-industrial Ruhrgebiet must have looked like. The village today mixes low-key modernity with a sprinkling of medieval structures, most notably Basilika St Ludgerus. Take a breather in the lovely park on an island in the river.

The S6 follows a leafy route to Werden from the Hauptbahnhof.

Industrial Heritage Trail

Most of the smokestacks and mines are silent today, but many of the Ruhr region's ‘cathedrals of industry’ have taken on new lives as museums, concert halls, galleries, cinemas, restaurants, viewpoints, playgrounds and other such venues. More than 900 sites are linked along the 400km Industrial Heritage Trail (www.route-industriekultur.de) that threads through such cities as Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg and Bochum. Key sites include the Zollern colliery in Dortmund, the North Duisburg Landscape Park, the Tetraeder in Bottrop and, first and foremost, the Unesco-listed Zollverein in Essen, which also houses the Ruhr.VisitorCenter. Virtually any tourist office in the Ruhrgebiet will have plenty of details, including lots of info in English.