The West Midlands is not making enough of its rich history, one of the country's leading historians said yesterday.
Dr David Starkey, who has presented a number of television documentaries, said the region was too focused on Shakespeare and needed to do more to promote its other sites.
"With the regeneration of Birmingham into a cutting edge city, the region needs to be restored to its rightful place as an area of massive importance to English history and politics," he said.
"This is not just Shakespeare Country, which invokes the idea of little black and white Tudor cottages. It is the great debatable land between the north and the south and is hugely rich in battles and castles.
"The issue is that all these great buildings are owned by different organisations. In order to promote the region they need to talk to each other."
Dr Starkey, who unveiled a £2.5 million restoration and development of Kenilworth Castle yesterday, said there were many fantastic sites in the region that were in need of attention.
"I really hope other sites in the region undergo the Kenil-worth Castle treatment," he said.
"The Lord Leycester Hospital and the Earl of Warwick's Tomb at St Mary's Church in Warwick are both good examples."
Heart of England Tourism, the body responsible for promoting the region to the UK and abroad, defended the focus on Shakespeare, saying it was a unique selling point.
"If we go to the United States and ask people to visit Coventry Cathedral, no matter how spectacular it is, they won't come because they don't recognise it," said Heart of England spokesman Sam Warnock.
"But if you talk about Shakespeare, everyone identifies with the name."
Mr Warnock added that many people did not share Dr Star-key's understanding of historical sites.
"He has a breadth of knowledge not shared by 99 per cent of the population," he said. "Most people only know the biggies and we need to play on that.
"Once we get them into the region we can use these attractions as a gateway to all the fantastic hidden gems we have."
Gerald Lesinski, master of the 630-year-old Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick, said it was less a problem of promotion and more a question of funding.
"I think Heart of England do a good job, but they are obviously constrained by the budget that they receive," he said.
"This is also true of English Heritage. We are desperately in need of £95,000 to carry out some re-roofing work, but they have turned us down for funding.
"They say that their budget has been cut so much that they can only give money to buildings in jeopardy.
"We don't want to be forced into that position but, without an English Heritage grant, we cannot attract other sources of funding."
The opening ceremony at Kenilworth, which was also attended by Culture Minister David Lammy, marked the end of many months of restoration.
The main change sees the gatehouse - built in the 1500s by Sir Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester - opened to the public for the first time since the 1930s.
Highlights include rare portraits of Elizabeth I and Sir Robert and a tapestry featuring his coat of arms. There is also the chance to see correspondence between the two, including
Sir Robert's last letter to Elizabeth, written six days before he died, which she kept in a casket by her bed until her own death.