Using a large national database of people hospitalised with COVID-19, we investigated the contribution of cardio-metabolic conditions, multi-morbidity and ethnicity on the risk of in-hospital cardiovascular complications and death. A multicentre, prospective cohort study in 302 UK healthcare facilities of adults hospitalised with COVID-19 between 6 February 2020 and 16 March 2021. Logistic models were used to explore associations between baseline patient ethnicity, cardiometabolic conditions and multimorbidity (0, 1, 2, >2 conditions), and in-hospital cardiovascular complications (heart failure, arrhythmia, cardiac ischaemia, cardiac arrest, coagulation complications, stroke), renal injury and death. Of 65 624 patients hospitalised with COVID-19, 44 598 (68.0%) reported at least one cardiometabolic condition on admission. Cardiovascular/renal complications or death occurred in 24 609 (38.0%) patients. Baseline cardiometabolic conditions were independently associated with increased odds of in-hospital complications and this risk increased in the presence of cardiometabolic multimorbidity. For example, compared with having no cardiometabolic conditions, 1, 2 or ≥3 conditions was associated with 1.46 (95% CI 1.39 to 1.54), 2.04 (95% CI 1.93 to 2.15) and 3.10 (95% CI 2.92 to 3.29) times higher odds of any cardiovascular/renal complication, respectively. A similar pattern was observed for all-cause death. Compared with the white group, the South Asian (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.29) and black (OR 1.53 to 95% CI 1.37 to 1.72) ethnic groups had higher risk of any cardiovascular/renal complication. In hospitalised patients with COVID-19, cardiovascular complications or death impacts just under half of all patients, with the highest risk in those of South Asian or Black ethnicity and in patients with cardiometabolic multimorbidity. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.