A bit of English class came to Oamaru at the weekend.

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter and his wife, Imelda Staunton, who played pink-suited Harry Potter tyrant Dolores Umbridge, were in North Otago from Friday to Sunday.

The pair were spotted dining at Portside Restaurant and Bar on Friday night and seafood restaurant Fleur's Place in Moeraki on Saturday.

Portside Restaurant and Bar manager Cherelle Haywood said Carter, who played Carson the butler in Downton Abbey, and his Oscar-nominated wife appeared happy and relaxed while dining at the Oamaru restaurant by the waterfront.


"They were really lovely. They took a photo with the staff and then with a few of the customers as well.''

To the delight of locals, the stars were also spotted wandering around Oamaru's Victorian Precinct on Saturday.

An Oamaru resident and Harry Potter fan Matthew Wicks stopped and spoke to the pair in Harbour St.

"They said they had been around the historic precinct and [said] how beautiful it was,'' Mr Wicks said.

"[They] didn't say exactly where they had been, just said they loved the old part of town.''

After his encounter with the British actors, Mr Wicks said he spoke to others who had their photo taken with the pair and everyone had commented that they "were very nice about it''.

It is understood they stayed two nights at Pen-y-bryn Lodge, but the owner of the Oamaru luxury lodge, James Glucksman, declined to comment.