In 1977 the house and grounds opened to the public as a country park. It is one of the oldest castles in Scotland and has been continuously inhabited by the same family for longer than any other.
In 2007, after experts told the owners that the concrete facing would eventually need to be replaced to avoid further damage to the stone walls, the Earl invited graffiti artists to paint the walls. The concrete removal process may not start until 2009. The project was featured on the BBC television programme The Culture Show. Also in 2007, Kelburn featured in another BBC programme, Crisis at the Castle which documented the financial problems of running the castle.
The castle suffered minor fire damage on 16 February 2009. The fire service was called to a blaze at around 1:45 am where flames had engulfed a top-floor room and spread to the roof. Around 25 firefighters battled the blaze for more than five hours before it was extinguished at around 7:20 am. The blaze is not being treated as suspicious.